Arizona Legislature Calls on Congress to Issue Healthcare Reforms

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Published on: June 29, 2015

The following letter was sent in April 2015 to the persons addressed below. Although we have heard the King v. Burwell ruling in recent days, it does not change the content of this letter. The letter was not written by me, but was signed off by myself and most of the Arizona Majority Republican Caucus.

Dear Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell:

The state of Arizona, and the entire nation, is awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision on the King v. Burwell case challenging the legality of taxpayer-funded subsidies for enrollees in federally-run health insurance exchanges established through the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare.

Arizona declined to establish and fund a state-run exchange. We were unwilling to subject Arizonans to the high operating costs, expanded bureaucracy, additional employer mandates, narrower provider networks, and greater Internal Revenue Service intrusion that would result from creating such an exchange.

Our position has not changed, and it will not change.

Regardless of the forthcoming decision from the Supreme Court, we cannot ignore the disastrous experiences of other states that previously established and funded their own exchanges. In just the recent past, New Mexico, Nevada, and Oregon have all abandoned their state-run exchanges and defaulted to HealthCare.gov.

Should the Supreme Court rule in favor of the plaintiff and outlaw federal exchange subsidies, we recognize the difficult situation many exchange enrollees may face. It is unfortunate that ObamaCare continues to create hardship for so many Arizona patients and taxpayers. A Court decision in favor of King will provide even more evidence that ObamaCare is a poorly-written and ill-conceived law.

But such a decision gives Congress a tremendous opportunity to fix ObamaCare with patient-centered reforms that help everyone.

Congress’ response to a Supreme Court decision in favor of King will have long-lasting implications that will affect Arizona patients, families, and businesses. That is why it is critical Congress act responsibly.

All patients, not just those enrolled in an ObamaCare exchange, deserve health care freedom, flexibility, and security. Arizonans want honest and helpful reforms. They do not want to see their health care continue to be politicized, and they do not want new rules and mandates that pick winners and losers. Our constituents, and all Americans, deserve better than ObamaCare 2.0.

This year, this Legislature passed a law prohibiting the state from enforcing, cooperating, or participating with ObamaCare as it relates to funding or implementing a state-based health care exchange or marketplace and other provisions. Arizonans will not be put on the hook to fix problems Congress should be solving.

The principles behind that reform are the same Congress should use. To that end, we urge you to revisit ObamaCare and make changes that would allow Arizonans to:

  1. Purchase the health plans they want, including plans available before ObamaCare in addition to those plans currently sold.
  2. Purchase coverage whenever they choose year round, not just during Washington-approved open enrollment windows.
  3. Use subsidies, tax credits or tax deductions for any health plan that meets their needs, not just for government-authorized exchange plans.

Our constituents deserve change. They deserve peace of mind that Congress will seize the opportunity a King v. Burwell decision might create to repair the damage done by ObamaCare.

The challenge is on Congress. We believe you are up to the job.

Sincerely,

Members of the Republican Caucus of the 52nd Arizona Legislature

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