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Mesa mayor joins national calls for changes to Senate health care bill

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LISTEN: John Giles, City of Mesa mayor

National and state leaders aren’t the only politicians who would like to see changes made to the proposed health care bill. A suburban Phoenix mayor is on that list.

“The way you fix a broken system is not to make it worse,” Mesa Mayor John Giles said Monday on KTAR 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

Giles was among many city leaders attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which was finishing up its four days in Miami Beach.

While municipal leaders have no say in the GOP Senate’s proposed health care replacement bill, “It is important for mayors like me to speak up,” Giles said.

On the job since August 2014, the Mesa native isn’t playing politics on the health bill issue.

“I am a nonpartisan elected official … but I can tell you cities, Mesa in particular, would be dramatically impacted if Medicaid were eliminated as the president’s budget calls for and as the reforms that are proposed right now in Senate call for.”

After an analysis of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, Arizona’s Medicaid agency concluded the proposal would cost the state at least $7.1 billion over the next nine years.

“When you do a ride-along with first responders, what you learn is most of of these calls are related to mental health and substance abuse. The current reforms to Obamacare ignore both those very important topics,” Giles said.

“Hospitals are at a real threat of being shut down in some rural parts of Arizona,” he said. “And (will be) very financially challenged in cities like Phoenix and Mesa.

“It’s a real threat to cities and it’s not something mayors can be silent about.”

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