Treasurer Dean Martin Releases Innovative Healthcare Crisis Solution
For Immediate Release Director of Communications:
Wednesday, March 31, 2010 Tim Gaffney 602-810-4715
Treasurer Dean Martin Releases Innovative Healthcare Crisis Solution Saves health insurance for over 400,000 of Arizona’s kids & adults, solves billion dollar budget problem.
(PHOENIX, Arizona) – Today State Treasurer Dean Martin released his plan to save over 400,000 Arizona’s children and working poor from losing health insurance.
“Today I am releasing a common sense proposal to modernize our State healthcare programs and allow the programs to continue without any tax increase. According to recent studies, this will save 42,000 jobs and prevent billions in cost shifts to our already over stressed healthcare system,” said Treasurer Dean Martin
“When the Governor pushed to eliminate healthcare for 400,000 of Arizona’s children and working poor, she really told them to just stop working so they can qualify for traditional AHCCCS. We need Arizonans to keep working. My plan provides a way for them to keep working and keep their health insurance.”
President Obama’s healthcare bill requires the state to provide expanded health insurance without any additional funding until 2014. Without immediate action the State would be required to increase taxes by an additional billion dollars or make a billion dollars of additional cuts to education and public safety.
“To often politics and rhetoric cloud the healthcare debate. The reality is healthcare is expensive, and Arizona cannot just print money, nor can we afford to leave 400,000 people without health insurance.” Treasurer Martin’s continued, “my plan will modernize AHCCCS insurance coverage to bring it in line with the best private health insurance plans. By implementing a modest co-pay when users visit the doctor or obtain a prescription, and a highly subsidized monthly premium as low as fifty cents per day, we can continue to provide health insurance to the more than 1.3 million people on AHCCCS. “
Currently Arizona provides free Medicaid insurance under the AHCCCS program to over 20% of its population which are grouped into three levels:
Nearly 900,000 people on traditional Medicaid/AHCCCS at or below 33% of federal poverty level (FPL)Over 350,000 people in the expanded population (prop 204) at or below 100% of FPL (one of only a handful of states that offers this expanded coverage)40,000 Children on Kidscare between 100% and 200% of FPL
Current AHCCCS benefits are very rich and provided typically without any co-pays (highly unusual compared to other states according to a 2010 study by Greater Phoenix Leadership).
AHCCCS Modernization Plan:
This proposal will generate $987 million from co-pays, premiums and utilization savings which is sufficient to keep financing AHCCCS, continue to draw down billions in Federal healthcare funds.
Treasurer Dean Martin added, “we cannot print money, we should not cut education, and taxpayers are already struggling and facing several possible tax increases already. This AHCCCS modernization plan is the ONLY solution that has been put forward by any other candidate, or even by the industry itself, that provides a sustainable, and common sense solution to keep hundreds of thousands of Arizona’s working poor insured.”
REVENUE & SAVINGS
The KidsCare reform proposal will actually lower premiums for many participants. The savings and revenue from the reform plan will generate more than $33 million dollars, more than enough to pay the January 2010 estimated GF cost of $20 million. In addition the KidsCare modernization plan does not require a federal waiver and can be implemented immediately. Treasurer Martin stated, “there is absolutely no reason for 40,000 children to be left without insurance; this modernization plan should be passed and signed into law immediately. The problems facing Arizona are not Democrat problems or Republican problems; they are math problems. It is time to set aside the partisan bickering that has paralyzed this state for too long.”
In addition to the modernization plan, Treasurer Martin proposes the establishment of Arizona Cares. Arizona Cares will help local communities and charities who wish to help pay the co-pays and premiums for the most needy.
Arizona Cares will be a grant clearing house to coordinate local community charitable efforts and will coordinate with Arizona’s First Things First program. Donations will be tax deductible and a portion of a taxpayers refund may be elected to be sent to this program. Any additional utilization savings will also be directed to Arizona Cares to offset costs to the most needy. Treasurer Martin concluded, “by working together to implement smart and creative solutions Arizona can get through this crisis.”
Treasurer Dean Martin is an elected statewide constitutional officer serving as the state’s Chief Financial Officer. Treasurer Martin warned state leaders about impending financial crisis three years ago, in time to avoid the current budget mess, but was ignored as “Chicken Little” . Facing a government that was showing itself to be more out of touch with fiscal sanity and taxpayers, Treasurer Martin announced his candidacy for Governor on January 13th.