TUCSON— Rep. Kirkpatrick issued the following statement in response to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) approving provisions under Arizona’s Medicaid waiver that would harm thousands of Arizonans as well as Arizona hospitals. One provision would allow the state to take coverage away from people for not meeting an 80 hour a month work requirement, and the second would halt payments to hospitals for retroactive coverage, a provision that helps beneficiaries avoid medical debt. In short, the new restrictions will result in the loss of coverage for thousands of Arizonans, and cause financial hardships for hospitals.
“These provisions are horrible for Arizona’s Medicaid beneficiaries and our hospitals or Medicaid service providers. When Arizona adopted the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, our state saw a significant decrease in those uninsured. Now, one in four Arizonans rely on Medicaid’s health coverage,” said Kirkpatrick. “But with these new provisions, the number of Arizonans uninsured will increase again.”
“By implementing ineffective work requirements, the provisions don’t take into account individuals who are already working but we now have to deal with additional red tape to maintain their coverage, or are working in specific industries that have fluctuating hours. Nor does it factor those that have mental or physical disorders but don’t qualify for exemptions. Aside from affecting people, it also harms our hospitals. Providers will be robbed of compensation for their services if retroactive coverage stops.”
“These new provision installments by CMS are unlawful and will result in costly legal challenges. Medicaid was designed to help ensure health coverage to those who otherwise would not have access, these provisions go against Medicaid’s main objective. We must continue to fight this administration’s on-going attacks on healthcare access for any and all American families.”