Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dueling press releases: Congressional Dems defend vote, blast Brewer's cold-hearted budget cuts

Less than 24 hours after the signing of the new federal healthcare reform legislation by President Obama, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer issued a statement voicing her opposition to the bill and parroting Republican talking points regarding cost.

"It will cost the citizens of the State of Arizona at least $1 billion in 2012 and more than $1 billion in 2013," states Brewer. In addition, she alludes to "the state deficit hole they have created" with healthcare reform. Of course, her statement doesn't mention any of the benefits of the bill for Arizonans-- particularly the hundreds of thousands of residents who were recently knocked off of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS).

In a show of strength and solidarity, Arizona's for Congressional Democrats--Harry Mitchell, Ed Pastor, Gabrielle Giffords, and Raul Grijalva-- issued a joint statement on Tuesday, March 23 and answered charges made by Brewer and other Republicans.

Here are their main points:

- The bill will provide $2.5 billion in new Medicaid funding for Arizona.

- Arizona's Republican Governor and state legislature recently kicked approximately 400,000 Arizonans, including 40,000 children, off their health insurance.

- Slashing Medicaid and KidsCare like this puts Arizona at risk to lose billions in federal matching funds and kill over 42,000 jobs.

- The Governor's claim that the new federal legislation will "cost $1 billion or more to Arizona are hyperbolic and completely unfounded. They are thinly veiled attempts to divert attention from their misplaced priorities and poor judgment that will keep families from receiving the health care."

- The state budget cuts "will dig the state into a deeper budget hole by jeopardizing $7 billion in federal funds. These are funds that were paid by Arizona taxpayers and they should not be forfeited because of the ill conceived decisions made by the legislature and the Governor."

- The suggestion that this new legislation is responsible for Arizona’s budget crisis is "absurd." Arizona's budget crisis predates the health insurance reform bill and will continue for the foreseeable future.

- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (AKA the Stimulus bill)-- supported by Mitchell, Giffords, Grijalva, and Pastor--has "provided Arizona with $1.2 billion in extra Medicaid funds with another billion on its way."

Who should you believe? Why not read the facts? Check out this official link.

This article originally appeared in my Progressive Examiner column.

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