Mandates: The decision before the decision

October 5, 2012

Lobbying money is flowing freely at the Capitol these days to convince Arizona legislators to implement the core provision of Obamacare  in Arizona:  a state-run Health Insurance Exchange – through which hundreds of millions in subsidies will flow from Washington to insurers participating in the exchange – as well as other key information – like tax, personal health & employment information – etc.

The Governor seems intent on implementing one, and has already applied for a $30 million planning grant to do just that – but  so far most Republican legislators in the state have balked at legislation required to fund it.  In fact, Sen. Pierce sent members a letter by U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch pressing HHS for more transparency & detail without which states would be foolish to make a decision to fund and run a huge new bureaucracy.

However....most legislators had no idea another key decision was made this week by the Governor: mandating the kind of health insurance citizens will be forced to purchase  under the law.    Here’s what I communicated to fellow legislators following the Governor’s action – which obviously flew deep under the radar:   [Read more]

They’re trying to say “I love you”

August 28, 2012

…but government RULES keep getting in the way.  State agency rules.

More than 13,000 children await permanent homes in Arizona.  At the same time, willing parents are turned away because they have not immunized their own children – many for medical reasons.   What’s wrong with this picture? [Read more]

Regulators Win – Arizonans Lose

March 18, 2012

People need health care.

The good news is volunteer physicians are prepared to deliver it – for free.  Not only across the ocean in Uganda and south of the border, but in the inner cities and on the Indian reservations across the United States, including Arizona.

The bad news is our regulations make it more difficult for them to serve their fellow man here i Arizona than across the world. So they don’t come here.

Enter a solution:  SB 1189. This bill would remove the chief obstacle standing between Arizonans in need of health care and the health care professionals ready, willing and duly licensed from other states – to serve them:  an Arizona-specific license. [Read more]

Philosophy of Health Care Compact

January 8, 2012

Last session the AZ Legislature overwhelmingly passed (and the Governor vetoed) the Health Care Compact which will, when approved by Congress, return governance of health care to the states – where it rightfully belongs – not in Washington.  States in the compact would each have the authority to say “yay” or “nay” to Federal health care regulations that are harmful or don’t serve their citizens well – including Obamacare.

Six states have passed the HCC and more are advancing HCC legislation each year.  Arizona for the second time.

Why a Compact Now? The below is reprinted from the Health Care Compact Facebook post of December 16, 2010. It’s a great piece:

“Our political problems are structural, not personal. Simply changing our representatives won’t fix them; we need to change the incentives and power relationships embedded in our political institutions. This is structural political change – the kind of change that alters those incentives and power relationships. And that sort of change requires new policy approaches, new policy ideas.  Ideas like the Health Care Compact [emphasis mine]. [Read more]

Senate Removes IRC Chair

November 11, 2011

The Governor and Senate took decisive action, voting to remove Chairwoman Colleen Mathis of the Independent Redistricting Commission.

Was it right?  YOU decide.

The Big Picture:

Just because the Independent Redistricting Commission is “independent” does not mean it can act independently of the Arizona Constitution.  The IRC is mandated to follow the Arizona Constitution, which lays out the criteria for the maps.

– The IRC has had more than 38 hours of behind closed-door meetings. – There was a time they had as many closed session meetings as open session meetings. [Read more]

Students to ‘Move on When Ready’

August 20, 2011

The Center for the Future of Arizona reports about half of Arizona high school graduates require at least one non-credit, developmental math course.  And forty-one percent of incoming community college students require at least one pre-college course in reading or English before they can advance to college-level courses.

On the other end of the spectrum, a significant number of high achieving students fail to graduate because they’re bored, adding to Arizona’s 30% graduation failure rate. [Read more]

Just say no to Obamacare Exchange

August 20, 2011

Whether to implement Obamacare while fighting the law in court is a hot topic in state legislatures across the country but most legislators attending last summer’s conservative legislative conference in New Orleans (ALEC) agreed that states have plenty of reasons to say “no thanks” to instituting a huge part of the new law in their state statutes:  insurance exchanges.

They felt so strongly about it, in fact, that Sen. Barto’s resolution against implementing state-run Obamacare exchanges was overwhelmingly approved by the organization’s Health and Human Services Task Force,  which will help legislators rebuff exchange legislation in their states in upcoming sessions.   Watch a two minute video here.  The resolution follows:   [Read more]

School Choice Championed

July 15, 2011

“The most promising cost-effective strategies for improving education include healthy doses of competition and consumer choice, an approach championed by Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.”   Investors Business Daily

Other states are catching up, but Arizona continues to lead the nation in offering parents plenty of educational choices for their kids – in April the courts confirming their rights to direct education dollars:  Students Win in Court Ruling.

Here’s a summary of this session’s work undergirding school choice in Arizona: [Read more]

Mistaken Identity Leads to “Abby’s Law”

May 8, 2011

It was a case of mistaken identity that never should have happened – but it did. 

Senate Bill 1118 is called “Abby’s Law” in honor of Abby Guerra, a 20-year-old Glendale woman who was thought to have died in a July 18 accident that killed two people and injured three others.  All were graduates of Ironwood High School in the Peoria Unified School District.

I had the honor of meeting Abby Guerra, the courageous young woman promoting the bill, and the victim whom authorities had misidentified and assumed had died following a tragic car accident last July – and working with her and her family on a bill Gov. Jan Brewer signed last month that will help prevent mix-ups like the one that rocked two Glendale families.

Read the story 12 News on AZ Central: and view ABC 15 news video[Read more]

AZ Empowerment bill moves ahead

April 10, 2011

SB 1553 passed a final vote in the Senate and is headed for the Governor desk… The bill will give Arizona special ed students the education opportunities they need.  Read the summary:  SB 1553

Background:  As you may know, in 2006 then Governor Janet Napolitano signed into law Arizona’s Scholarship for Pupils with Disabilities, a school voucher program for special needs children.  The Arizona Supreme Court struck down this program based on a provision in the Arizona Constitution called the Blaine Amendment. The Blaine Amendment prohibits aid or support to religious schools and 37 states have similar provisions. The Arizona Supreme Court gave us, in their ruling, a way to structure a program that would be compatible with the Blaine Amendment. This bill is based on the Arizona Supreme Court’s very own suggestion: the State should give education funds directly to parents of special needs children and allow them to spend the money on a wide range of options and services. [Read more]

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