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Stanton, Phoenix advocacy groups urge action against health care bill

(AP Photo/Ryan VanVelzer)

PHOENIX — Phoenix advocacy groups against the proposed new health care legislation say its impact would be extremely negative.

A coalition of community organizations representing the disability community, seniors, children, low-income families, and others talked Monday about the potentially significant impact of the Senate’s proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act at the Ability-360 Center on Washington Street in Phoenix.

Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton was emphatic in his dislike of the draft health care legislation.

“The proposed Senate healthcare bill is an all-out assault on the people of Arizona,” said Stanton.

Stanton said the legislation would undo all the good of Arizona’s Medicaid expansion.

“Why would any Arizona leader who loves this state want to do this kind of damage to the lives of our most vulnerable residents?” Stanton asked.

Stanton said the proposed legislation would also seriously damage Arizona’s economy, cutting into many health care related jobs.

“The health care industry helped prop up our economy which has been heading in the right direction,” Stanton said. “This will go in exactly the wrong direction if this bill passes.”

Sarah Kadar, attorney for the Arizona Center for Disability Law said, “The health care bill drafted by both the House and the Senate guts Medicaid funding so significantly that thousands of people with disabilities could lose some or all of their coverage.”

She added, “The way the health care bill proposes to fund Medicaid will result in inadequate funding which disproportionally affects people with disabilities who rely on this funding to live. Make no mistake. If a bill like this passes, people with disabilities will die.”

Among the advocates speaking out today, Sergio Rodriguez, 34, suffers from multiple sclerosis, and is dependent on his health insurance for medication.

“I’m currently on a medication that’s $7,000 a month,” Rodriguez said. “To have that $84,000 annual balance before I even pay any of my other bills is unimaginable.”

Jodi Liggett, Vice President of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, said this legislation is terrible for women and for the country, and it must be stopped.

She said the bill would make it harder to prevent unintended pregnancies, harder to have healthy pregnancies, and harder to raise a family.

“Thirteen-million women could lose coverage for maternity care under this bill and we all know that it guts the Medicaid program,” said Liggett.

“This bill makes maternity coverage optional, it reduces the mandate for contraception and family planning in insurance plans, and it prevents folks on Medicaid from coming to Planned Parenthood for their basic preventative care,” Liggett said.

Stanton urged citizens who are against the proposed health care legislation to call or write Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, and Gov. Doug Ducey, to urge them to help in opposing this bill.

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