I applaud Gov. Jan Brewer for her push to restore Medicaid, which is the right thing to do for all Arizonans. Restoring Medicaid with federal dollars from the Patient Affordable Care Act will lower the cost of uncompensated care, helping everyone throughout the state.
As a physician in Yuma, I fully understand and witness firsthand the strain we are feeling in our emergency rooms due to those without insurance who use the ER as their primary care or who come to the ER with an advanced condition that could have been treated sooner. The restoration will get rid of the hidden tax the insured pay through their premiums, which are on average $1,770 higher because of the costs of uncompensated care. We must solve the growing problem of uncompensated care, which has nearly doubled since the recession and the freeze on AHCCCS enrollment by restoring Medicaid now. AHCCCS is about $700 cheaper per enrollee per year than the average Medicaid program, and is nearly $3,000 cheaper per enrollee than the most expensive Medicaid programs in the country. So what's the alternative? What happens if we don't restore Medicaid? Once again, the alternative is to continue to allow those in need to turn up in emergency rooms when their treatable problems have gone from bad to worse, and we cover the bill through our insurance premiums. That doesn't cut it for me, and I don't think it cuts it for you.
Dr. George Deckey