Repeal Already!

August 25, 2017

Frustrations abound since the Senate’s monumental failure to pass a repeal bill.  My piece on the subject, “Arizona is ready for Repeal and Replace,” appeared in the Arizona Capitol Times and on the Senate Republican blogsite:

We can’t stop now, Arizona. We need to continue the conversation about repealing the disastrous health care system called the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare. While dialogue about a bipartisan effort to draft a new bill may be the feel-good news of the moment, it must be known that this kind of effort will end up propping up the current law and further entrench the current failing system of Medicaid.

But we can’t keep stalling. If the congressional GOP truly wants repeal, as they’ve repeatedly championed, their first step is to show strength in numbers and be a majority that can take action for families that are desperate for change. While not perfect – incremental changes rarely are – the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) would have taken us leaps toward that goal by freeing Americans from the ACA’s onerous mandates and taxes.

As expected, the health care and insurance lobbies had a field day of grave consequences. What was not expected was the failure of our senators to weigh faulty predictions against the actual harms the law is causing Americans today!

Betrayed by the promises of lower premiums and the ability to keep their doctors, families now have insufferably narrow networks, pay multiple times more for less care and many have been forced into exchanges where there are few, if any, carriers. Individuals like John in north Phoenix paid $422 monthly in 2016 for a family bronze plan that increased to $1,038 this year. Kim, a business owner in Casa Grande, had to close an office location, lay off 20 employees and close 10 positions. With talk of millions potentially “losing coverage” under repeal scenarios, these families are paying a high price for inaction every day. These are not anecdotal cases. Since 2010, Arizona has seen a 45 percent net reduction in employer insurance offered by small businesses, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Importantly, the Senate bill would also have taken the small but critical first step of slowing the growth of Medicaid, the expansion of which is a central component of Obamacare. Medicaid would continue to grow about 2 percent per year, but at least we’d be acknowledging that entitlement spending is driving our debt crisis and making efforts to address it. Incredibly, one in four Arizonans is signed up for the Arizona Health Cost Care Containment System (AHCCCS) and is growing by double digits annually.

And for all its cost efficiencies, AHCCCS needs its own reforms to ensure that the vulnerable seriously mentally ill, children in foster care and developmentally disabled individuals don’t fall through the cracks. Other negative consequences remind us that the ACA is an incoherent law that was designed to fail and lead to the Left’s ultimate goal – single payer. It leaves physicians under-reimbursed and over-worked with bureaucratic paperwork. The result? Almost half plan to quit, change job positions or reduce hours, according to the 2016 Survey of America’s Physicians.

Arizona is ready to rid itself of the burdens of the ACA. Without its constraints, we are poised to enable a real marketplace of health care options for families – where innovation, competition and transparent prices for health care services could come together to stem health care costs. Broader use of medical savings accounts, health care sharing and direct care models, along with bold innovations we have yet to imagine, would allow individuals and their doctors to drive their health care decisions for the first time in a generation – rather than third-party bureaucrats. Americans deserve to know if the congressional GOP is committed to getting the federal government out of their health care decisions, as they have espoused. If so, one thing is for sure – it will demand the herculean effort of listening to the American people – not the health care industry and insurers.

Make Insurance Affordable Again

July 17, 2017

Arizona is Ready for Repeal and Replace – my recent editorial piece.

Would the Senate bill have threatened the ‘Safety Net’? – au contraire says conservative Grace-Marie Turner!

Morning Scoop panel spars over Medicaid – nearly 1 out of 4 Arizonans is on AHCCCS… & growing!

Obamacare mandated better Mental Health care coverage – it hasn’t happened.

The Republicaid Party? – Will GOP Governors make ACA Medicaid expansion untouchable? [Read more]

Politics & Culture

July 4, 2017

Sen. Barto honored by health care group

May 24, 2017

Senator Nancy Barto is being honored with the 2017 State Award for Excellence by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). The AANP is the country’s largest professional organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties.

Senator Barto is being recognized for her hard work on scope of practice issues for certified nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) and nurse midwives. She sponsored SB 1336 (nurse anesthetists; prescribing authority; limitation), which defines prescribing authority and medication orders for CRNAs. [Read more]

Adobe Mountain – Notification Bill Signed!

May 19, 2017

When the Dept. of Corrections began housing released homeless sexual offenders at the Adobe Mountain Juvenile Corrections facility in North Phoenix last summer, it didn’t take long for the  neighbors in the area to catch wind of them.  The problem was, with little or no warning before the facility had been repurposed (from a secured to an unsecured facility), there was nothing for the community to do but voice their safety concerns after the fact.  And they did!  Parents Julie Read and Ann O’Brien organized hundreds of parents and business owners in the area to stop the DOC’s actions and have them reversed.  After a time their coordinated efforts paid off.

But the community didn’t stop there.  [Read more]

‘End-of-Life’ Conscience Protections

April 3, 2017

Getting to the bottom of the opposition to SB 1439 – has unwittingly revealed the obvious need for SB 1439.  Opponents weren’t against SB 1439 as much as they were opposed to the conscience protections already in law! [Read more]

Obamacare News

July 7, 2016

The Doctor’s computer will see you now –  what MACRA did and its results. [Read more]

Politics Unplugged hi-lights Pro-Life Law

July 7, 2015

Abortion Pill Reversal – Senators Barto and Hobbs debate the merits of recent legislation ensuring women are informed it may be possible to reverse the effects of the abortion pill and have a second chance to save the life of her unborn child  – not be kept in the dark regarding the option.  View the piece on Politics Unplugged here.

Also see my ‘Women should not be lied to’ post.

NFIB Senator of the Year

June 11, 2015

June 10, 2015

Sen. Barto named Senator of the Year by Small Business Group 

(Phoenix, State Capitol)—-Senator Nancy Barto received the Senator of the Year Award today from the National Federation of Independent Business/Arizona. NFIB honors two legislators each year for their efforts in assisting small business in our state.

The Arizona state director for NFIB says Senator Barto has been one of the staunchest champions of small business at the Arizona Legislature for almost a decade. “During the 2015 legislative session, Senator Barto took the lead to ensure that small businesses providing home support services for many of our most vulnerable Arizonans would continue free of unnecessary and destructive state government interference,” said Farrell Quinlan. “It is because of Nancy Barto’s leadership and faith in Arizona’s small business owners that countless thousands will continue to receive the care they need, especially as their services become more and more crucial with the Baby Boom Generation reaching retirement age.” [Read more]

Focus on Children & Internet Sex Crimes

April 20, 2015

HB 2517   Rescuing children from internet sex crimes –  There are 15,000 known active internet addresses identified in Arizona – but not nearly enough investigators to track down & save these child victims.  There are only 4 fulltime investigators working these horrific torture, rape and molestation cases – the same number since the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force was formed in 2001!  HB 2517 allocates $900,000 a year in lottery revenue to the Internet Crimes Against Children Enforcement Fund, and $100,000 to the Victims’ Rights Enforcement Fund.  What is the scope of these crimes?  Watch the compelling committee testimony.  View Rep. Paul Boyer’s piece here.

HB 2519   Parent moves and the best interest of kids – After numerous attempts to pass legislation curbing devastating abuse of current (post divorce) relocation statutes, HB 2519 made significant headway protecting both parents and the child.  Although in the end the 100 mile rule was restored, the most important part of the bill was left intact – that relocation issues are to be written into final orders rather than post decree orders.  Also supervised parenting time can no longer be used against the non-moving party with no penalty. [Read more]

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