As a professor of medical anthropology, I’ve studied health care systems both locally and globally. I recently wrote to Rep. Martha McSally to oppose the Republican health care bill that slashes $772 billion in federal Medicaid support, effectively dismantling the program and cutting off 15 million of the most vulnerable Americans, including nearly half a million Arizonans. Her response claimed the Arizona private market is “failing.” But that has little to do with Arizona Medicaid, AHCCCS, which is strong and vital to our economy. Governor Ducey’s Medicaid director estimates the bill would cost AHCCCS a staggering $7.1 billion, forcing deep cuts in services, provider rates, and eligibility.
Our Congress members should look to AHCCCS for answers, not use the Marketplace as a pretext to gut Medicaid. Other states require Medicaid insurers to offer Marketplace plans that increases choice and competition. Such solutions could fix Arizona’s Marketplace issues without devastating Medicaid or imposing a huge age tax on older adults.
Disclaimer: As submitted to the Arizona Daily Star.