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home : latest news : local April 29, 2016

5/20/2013 6:00:00 AM
Goodale: Brewer will win Medicaid battle
Ward disappointed AHCCCS patients not held accountable
Doris Goodale
Doris Goodale
Kelli Ward
Kelli Ward

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Rep. Doris Goodale, R- Kingman, expects some form of Gov. Jan Brewer's plan to expand the Arizona's Medicaid program to pass the Legislature, regardless of efforts by some Republicans to kill it.

According to the Associated Press, five Republicans joined the 13 Democrats in the Senate to pass a budget Thursday that included the expansion of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. The proposal will add 300,000 Arizonans to AHCCCS' rolls in 2014. There are currently 1.2 million people who use AHCCCS.

The Senate budget now goes to the Arizona House of Representatives for approval.

"There's still a process it has to go through. This is not a foregone conclusion," said Goodale. "Speaker (Andy) Tobin has presented an alternative to the governor's expansion plan."

The details of Tobin's plan haven't been released yet, she said, but representatives could kill the expansion by adding amendments or proposing their own budget.

However, Goodale expects that any budget that lands on the governor's desk without the AHCCCS expansion in it will be vetoed. If the budget is vetoed then it will return to the Legislature.

Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu, said he was waiting to see the engrossed version of the budget with all the amendments attached before making up his mind.

"There's a bunch of amendments," he said. "I'm not in favor of everything that's in it and I do have some concerns, but I want to read it first."

Sen. Kelli Ward said she was disappointed that the Senate passed a bill that didn't require AHCCCS patients to be held accountable for their actions.

"People in Mohave County have told me they want accountability," she said. "We fought a valiant fight on the floor of the Senate. I proposed seven amendments that would have added accountability to the system, but they didn't get voted on. Sen. (Rich) Crandell called for the question before they could be voted on."

Ward said her seven amendments would have called for any AHCCCS patients that use an ambulance or the emergency room multiple times in a 45-day period for non-emergency care to sit through a class on when patients should seek emergency care.

"I'm not trying to prevent care. I just want to educate people on when it is necessary to use the ER," Ward said.

Ward's amendments would have also required health care providers, pharmacies and insurance companies to keep track of prescriptions and report any abuse, excessive use or use of large amounts of cash to purchase drugs, especially prescription pain killers. Pharmacies and medical providers would also have to check Arizona's controlled substance database before prescribing any drugs to a patient.

"I want to make sure that we're not contributing to the abuse of drugs and creating a danger to the community," Ward said.

Ward plans to talk with representatives in the House about her amendments. But if she can't get them passed this year, she'll introduce them as independent legislation in the next session.

The expansion of AHCCCS is not the only budget item on legislators' radars.

"The expansion is the huge elephant in the room, but there are plenty of other moving parts," Goodale said.

She and Borrelli are working on an amendment that would make sure that all 13 rural counties, including Mohave County, got their fair share of the lottery ticket sales.

The state has swept money from the County Assistance Fund since 2011 to help fill its budget deficit. A proposed budget bill would restore that money to counties with populations of less than 200,000 people. According to the 2010 Census, Mohave County has 200,186 and does not qualify for the money under the proposed bill.

County officials have protested the bill, saying the money is needed to fund state mandated programs.

Goodale, Borrelli and Ward are working to amend the budget bill to make sure that all rural counties get the lottery money they were promised.

The Legislature is also still working on bills that deal with Common Core, which makes the state's education system more rigorous and introduces a new way of measuring student success, and revamping the state's sales tax system.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Article comment by: Be Part of the Solution

@ Donna Wickerd
I am happy to hear that you do attend meeting and engage in conversations.

You are, of course, familiar with the fact that there is a big push by Corporations to turn to computer learning in the schools. Megabucks are going into this effort. In fact, if I am not mistaken Jeb Bush is part of this push.
Personally, I don't like this idea. I think we need teachers to be interactive with the educational process...not just a computer program. From what I have been reading, this is BIG BUSINESS for those companies who will be designing the software.

Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Article comment by: Be Part of the Solution

@ Moderately Independent

Not even a distant relative to either Senator Kelli Ward or her husband Dr. Michael P. Ward.

Merely, someone who is curious as to whether or not those who I see posting comments have actually ever bothered to attend events where they have the opportunity to take part in the conversations, ask questions or state their concerns. And if not, why not?

Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Article comment by: Donna Wickerd

@ Be part of the solution,

Not only do I come to public meetings, I actively discuss issues directly with our representatives and educate myself about policies. For instance...nowhere in the common core does it require people to attend school online.

Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Article comment by: Moderately Independent

@ Be Part of the Solution

aka..........Kelli Ward.......or her husband?

Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew


Too late! And after 37 votes - THIRTY-SEVEN - the Teabaggers have still not been able to block it.

So suck it up and deal with it.

Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Article comment by: Be Part of the Solution

How many of you actually attend town hall meetings with our elected officials? Do you engage them in conversations? Ask questions? Express concerns?

@Donna Wickerd: ER's are over-used for non-emergency issues. It costs more than going to an urgent care facility and clogs up the ER's.

Further, Donna W., I am surprised that you would support Common Core since it will not improve the education of our youth. Going to computer based learning will also cut out the "middle man"...i.e teachers. Children need to be given a passion for learning, a love for reading and opportunity to use their own talents, not programmed like little trained monkeys. Database collections on children ages 0-20 should be concerning to all.

Come on folks, you are all better than your homework, come to town hall meetings and let your voices be a part of the conversation and the solution.

Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

The Republican party has let Tea party nuts take the party over and now we all must pay for it. Religious fanatics that refuse to work across the isle because they believe God is on there side and it would be immoral for them to do so. I'm just glad that there still are a few rational people like Rep Goodale still left in the party. Kelly Ward is a nightmare for our area. A great example of the deep thinking that goes into a response is the post by Terry Robbins. MY way or the highway. So sad that these people are the new face of the party.

Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

It must come as a rude awakening to realize Arizona is divided into approximately 1/3rds in the electorate, around 35% or so Republicans, 31% or so Democrats and remainder 34% or so Independents! Which means no clear majority exists for any party in the two main categories hence any elected official right, left or middle has to consider them independents whom the GOP think they own, but if this was so they would not register independent! Mohave county does not reign supreme in Arizona.

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013
Article comment by: L J

Just who paying for all this? It sure won't be policticans or the rich and certainly not the poor it's us the working class
and we've had enough. We don't get free health care, food stamps, etc. we only get less in our bring home pay while paying more to provide for our families. Where are all the campaign promises to create more jobs not more hand outs off the backs of the working class. We're sick & tried
Of policticans taking OUR money and giving it to others who can't or won't work. Has anyone noticed how many working age people walking around doing nothing during
normal working hours?

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013
Article comment by: David Gaither

@ With Friends Like Goodale ...:

Didn't you bother to read this sentence?

"She, (Goodale), and Borrelli are working on an amendment that would make sure that all 13 rural counties, including Mohave County, got their fair share of the lottery ticket sales."

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013
Article comment by: TERRY ROBBINS


Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013
Article comment by: France's Perkins

Kelli Ward has ever shifting rationales for her position on Medicare expansion. I guess she has to wait for Goldwater to give her the marching orders. Or maybe she hopes poor people will just drop dead so no one has to support their care.

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013
Article comment by: Donna Wickerd

Dr. Ward has gone on record voting against expanding Medicaid and she uses as her excuse the fact that some people might overuse emergency services? And she wants to add an amendment to spend money teaching them NOT to call 911? But she doesn't want to spend money servicing their health needs?

Dr. Ward also sponsored a bill taking money from Title One and using it to "educate" parents about their "choices" regarding private charter schools.

I wonder how she would feel about making people take classes about domestic violence after the police are called to come to their home a few times...or make them take gun safety classes if they are caught using their gun negligently...or parenting classes if their neighbors report them to CPS enough times?

Dr Ward only supports educating people when it suits her personal philosophies and doesn’t seem to be interested in what is best for all her constituents!

Thank you Doris Goodale for supporting this important legislation, as well as the common core legislation that will help improve education for our children all over the state! Your service is appreciated.

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013
Article comment by: With Friends Like Goodale ...

So let me understand this - Goodale is pushing for lottery money for counties with less than 200,000 when Mohave County has over 200,000 and doesn't qualify?

Gee, we have a smart representatives looking out for our interests in Goodale,

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013
Article comment by: Just Asking For Fairness

Kelli, you push for records to be kept on large expenditures on pain pills to stop what you think is abuse (sounds like a big waste of time to me and a lot of unnecessary bookkeeping by medical professionals.)

Let's try, just try to be fair, Kelli. What about the review of profits by doctors, revenues by pharmacies, and profit margins by all health care providers?

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013
Article comment by: Sen Ward Needs to Answer The Real Questions

Sen. Ward doesn't understand what we want when we ask for accountability. We want to know what state representatives are accountable for doing nothing about jobs. We want to know what state representatives are accountable for the pettiness, lack of action, and insane proposed laws we read about. And we want to know whose responsible for our state falling further and further behind on all economic scales compared to other states. We want to know who's responsible for destroying our public education system? These are just a few of the areas of responsibility we want Sen. Ward to address.

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Harris

7 amendments proposed = 0 votes

Sounds to me like this Republican can't even get Republicans to listen to her.

So much for having our representative recognized. Now not only do Mohave County Democrats not have a voice but it seems Mohave County Republicans don't either. What's this world coming to?

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013
Article comment by: Why Are We Represented By Nuts

"Sen. Kelli Ward said she was disappointed that the Senate passed a bill that didn't require AHCCCS patients to be held accountable for their actions."

Okay, let's see the accountability would go something like this - I'm sick and need medical care, I lost my job and need help to pay for it. Or something close to that.

What Sen. Kelli doesn't get is we, as a collective group are going to pay for this. The present system which is going to the emergency room and leaving the costs to us is twice as expensive as doctor care covered by AHCCCS.

But perhaps Sen. Kelli would rather live in a society advocated by many in her party - "let 'em die". That is unless it happens to be her child or her parents.

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