Graham County Republican Women
Category : Uncategorized
SAFFORD — Three months later, the manner in which Medicaid was expanded in the state still doesn’t sit well with David Stevens and Gail Griffin.
The two state politicians were in Graham County on Friday, speaking before the Graham County Women’s Republican Club at the Graham County Health Annex and the Graham County Freedom Alliance at the Victory Fellowship Theater.
“We had 647 pages (in the budget bill, which included the Medicaid expansion) dropped on our desks. And they refused to yield to questions. That type of behavior is unacceptable,” said Rep. Stevens, R-Sierra Vista.
Standard process for any bill is to go through committee, for review, input from members of the Legislature and, when approved by the committee chair, input from members of the public.
The bill expanding Medicaid in the state, which was required for the state to participate in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was pushed directly to the floor for a vote by a bipartisan group of legislators via a suspension of the rules requiring committee hearings.
Part of the act requires states to offer Medicaid to individuals and families with income of up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level — $11,170 for an individual, $23,050 for a family of four — including childless adults, who had been previously dropped from Arizona’s rolls during the recession.
Stevens was also circulating a petition that would put the issue of Medicaid expansion to a vote of the people. Proponents of the ballot measure have until Sept. 12 to collect a minimum of 86,405 qualified signatures to place the measure on the 2014 general election ballot.
The duo also talked about other issues, including border security, state spending on education — Sen. Griffin, R-Herford, said about 50 cents of each dollar spent in the state goes to education — and economic development.
“Business is picking up in Maricopa County. Now we need that business to be pushed down to the rural areas,” Griffin said.
They also talked about continued opposition to federal Environmental Protection Agency rules regarding regional haze —and the resulting closure of energy plants in the northeastern part of the state — and opposition to expansion of gray wolf and jaguar habitat.
“Those of us who enjoy living in the rural areas don’t want to lose that choice,” Griffin said. “This is God’s country.”