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Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick and Rep. Raul Grijalva send letter to CMS Administrator Asking him to Reject Arizona’s Waiver Request

March 12, 2015
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Ruben Gallego, Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick and Congressman Raul Grijalva sent a letter to CMS administrator Andy Slavitt asking him to reject Arizona’s waiver request that would allow the state’s Medicaid program to tighten eligibility rules.

The proposal would add employment requirements and a cap on the length of time a person can receive Medicaid through Arizona’s expansion program - resulting in approximately 500,000 Arizonans losing access to care, including over 250,000 children.

“It’s reprehensible that instead of working to expand access to health care for Arizonans in need, Governor Ducey made a politically motivated move that will make it more difficult for low income families and veterans to qualify for Medicaid. These changes will result in hundreds of thousands of people losing their coverage, and it will increase the cost of uncompensated care.” said Congressman Ruben Gallego. He added, “These changes go against the goals and protections of the Affordable Care Act and I trust that CMS will reject the waiver request.”

Congressman Raul Grijalva said, "There is no excuse for trying to deny the most vulnerable in our society the dignity and security of health coverage. This political stunt by the GOP to continue undermining the Affordable Care Act puts hundreds of thousands of Arizonans at risk and the taxpayers at large back on the tab to cover emergency costs for the uninsured. Governor Brewer learned the lesson the hard way when her Medicaid cuts wreaked havoc on the state economy, it is time we learn from past mistakes instead of repeating them. It’s an abject failure of leadership from elected officials in our state to once again ignore federal laws in an attempt to take away health care from deserving Arizonans."

"Medicaid expansion has played a vital role in providing thousands of folks in my district with the resources they need to stay healthy, go to work, and improve our communities," said Rep. Kirkpatrick. "I urge CMS to protect this program for Arizonans who are especially vulnerable without it." 

Health care providers across the state agree that granting the waiver request and making the proposed changes to Medicaid expansion would cause great harm to low income Arizonans in need of care, including children and veterans.

Kurt Sheppard, President & CEO, Valle del Sol said, “At Valle del Sol, we recognize that low-income Arizonans face great health disparities in areas such as behavioral health and chronic disease management. They also require a higher degree of coordination of care. We’re mindful of the need to maintain continuity and continued care for patients. We’re concerned for these individuals who may be left with no care or that may seek higher levels of care at a greater cost.”

Read the letter, here.