The Republic reports that there is a correlation between the rising number of state-paid births and the decline in the number of Arizonans covered by private health insurance. Now that his attention has been drawn to the subject, Kavanagh’s first question was the obvious one for a conservative: Is the state too generous with benefits?
In a related story, the New York Times reports that Arizona’s governor, Jan Brewer, is quietly planning the framework for a state health insurance exchange, in conformance with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Providing access to health insurance would seem to be the sensible solution for what is obviously a mounting crisis, but Brewer hasn’t made a final decision. In any case, she won’t be reporting what it is until after Election Day.
Of course, any decision in favor of an exchange still has to be approved by the state legislature, and that’s an iffy proposition at best. Brewer’s health care policy adviser, Donald Hughes, said, “If we have to have one, then it would be better for Arizona to do it ourselves rather than defer to the federal government.” A coalition of business leaders is encouraging Brewer to go with the exchange, presumably because it’s to their advantage to have an insured work force. However, equally powerful forces are exerting pressure on state legislators to resist, such as the conservative Americans for Prosperity. The organization’s director, Tom Jenney, has vowed to make life as uncomfortable as possible for those who do not oppose the exchange.
Will Arizona remain the state that never learns? Will it continue to ignore the hard evidence before government officials’ faces? November 16th is the deadline for committing to an exchange. That’s the date the answers will begin to come clear.
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