Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Scrooge McDucey ♥♥♥ the REACTIONARY Arizona Legislature

From September 2013, Steve Sack, editorial cartoonist for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

This, of course, is a timely presentation to properly characterize the highly problematic FY2016 Arizona state government budget RAMMED down the throats of rank and file GOP state lawmakers recently in the middle of the night by Senate President Andy Biggshot (R-LD12/Gilbert/American Family Publishers' Sweepstakes).

Thirty-five years ago, Ronald Reagan sold America on this notion of incentives and justified it on the basis of claims that the rich, beneficiaries of government largess, would naturally invest the proceeds in creating good jobs for Main Street Americans.

We MUST be no longer deceived. There's more than three decades worth of data demonstrating that those claims are complete bullshit. The rich instead now sit on TRILLIONS of dollars in cash reserves stashed overseas (Switzerland, Cayman Islands, etc.) to avoid and evade paying their fair share of the cost to society for the infrastructure (and the labor of hundreds of millions of Americans) that they exploited to become rich.

Biggshot is the epitome of entitlement in Arizona. Put another way, his demeanor consistently says, "I got mine (in 1993), so F**K YOU!"

Unfortunately, the budget isn't the only thing the GOP-dominated AZ legislature is doing to FOCUS and direct HARM to everyone in our state other than the rich.

Case in point, this afternoon, SB1034, which already had been approved by the state senate, passed in the House of Representatives on a third read vote with only 10 NAY votes. Thankfully, both of my LD26 state reps voted NAY.

SB1034, when enacted, will direct the state's medicaid agency, to require ambulance providers to tattle on poor, sick people.
36-2903.09.  AHCCCS contractors; emergency department use; ambulance use
A.  A contractor shall intervene if a member inappropriately seeks care at a hospital emergency department four times or more in a six-month period to educate the member regarding the proper use of emergency services.

B.  Contractors shall report to the administration the number of times the contractor intervenes with members pursuant to this section in a manner prescribed by the administration.
Other than to intimidate elderly patients with chronic illnesses, what could this data possibly enable AHCCCS and state lawmakers to do?

Do you remember Congressman Alan Grayson (D-Florida) bluntly stating that the Republican health plan is to tell people to "die quickly?"

SB1034, sponsored by RWNJ Sen. Kelli Ward (R-Tea Party/LD5/Lake Havasu City), a PHYSICIAN no less, furthers that goal of killing off our senior citizens with chronic illnesses.

In explaining his vote, LD26 state Rep. Juan Mendez read from prepared remarks:
This bill is in search of an answer to a non-existent problem.
AHCCCS has tried to retrospectively assess the inappropriate use of the ER. In their recent report to the directors of the Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee regarding Emergency Department Utilization. They found about 6% of ER visits were coded in what they thought showed a low level need for the ER.
Thus, we have no documented improper use of the hospital emergency rooms by AHCCCS members.
In addition, the problem with this bill is that under Medicaid, the standard of a reasonable visit to the ER is what a prudent layperson would think in regard to their health.
So if I have a history of heart conditions and I am experiencing chest pains, my visit to the ER falls within the prudent layperson standard even if there is nothing wrong with me.
We do not want people to stay away from the hospital and have a heart attack at home.
Simply looking at admittance codes does not apply the prudent layperson standard in the Medicaid regulations for when emergency room use is reasonable.
We need to stop patronizing the poor, this bill assumes poor make terrible choices and do so because they are inherently less capable.
I do not believe this and vote no.
In these remarks, Mendez must comply with legislative rules for politeness and decorum. Personally, I would have been somewhat more pointed in comments, if I were in his shoes. This is less about patronizing the poor and more about intimidation. But Mendez is squarely on the mark when he says, "We do not want people to stay away from the hospital and have a heart attack at home."

That is, unless you're one of the Greedy Ol' Pricks who determine public policy in Arizona.

Then we have Congressman Matt Salmon (R-Arizona's Fifth District/Gilbert), who yesterday declared that since cancer has touched loved ones of his, he (a self-described notoriously tight-fisted representative) is now willing to go to the wall to dramatically increase federal cancer research funding.
WASHINGTON -- Two minutes into a speech Tuesday morning, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) turned to the subject of his hair. He had shaved his head recently to honor the top official at the research department at the University of Arizona, who had died from pancreatic cancer. It was growing back.
There was poignancy to the gesture -- and a reason to mention it -- since Salmon was addressing a joint event by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and Stand Up To Cancer in the Cannon House Office building. After explaining his buzz cut and recounting how the disease had affected the lives of those he knew, loved and respected, Salmon made a plea.
"I'm kind of an unlikely candidate to be here today probably for a lot of reasons," he said. "I've been recognized by numerous groups as one of the most tight-fisted people in the entire Congress. ... That having been said, I believe with all my heart and soul that if the federal government doesn't lead the way on conquering cancer that it won't get done." [...]
Addressing legislation that the audience was there to advocate -- a $6 billion increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health over two years ($1 billion of which would go to the National Cancer Institute) -- Salmon insisted it was insufficient. The NIH, he explained, should see its budget grow to $40 billion by 2021 from roughly $30.1 billion, offset with cuts elsewhere. (emphasis added)
Now, can you guess from which federal programs Salmon will allow (advocate, or at least tolerate) those cuts coming? I bet it won't be the latest research on weapons of war. Which constituencies have the least power on Capitol Hill? Bully for Matt Salmon. I agree with him completely that federal funding for cancer research is crucial and worthy. But really, where's he going to find $10 billion to cut (offset) with his proposal?

It's that way in Washington DC and it's that way in Arizona.


The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any. - Alice Walker
— Revolutionary Quotes (@QuoteRevolution) March 7, 2015


Today it is a case of the grasshopper pitted against the elephant. But tomorrow the elephant will have its guts ripped outLe Loi, Vietnamese emperor, 15th Century

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