State Capitol News
3:53 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

Hospitals Meet with Governor on Their Bid to Save Government-Provided Helthcare for Some Who WIll Loose it

Phoenix, AZ – The governor's budget proposes to cut 280,000 from the Arizona
Health Care Cost Containment System, all but 30,000 of these
being childless adults. Brewer said the state cannot afford the
care, even with the federal government picking up two thirds of
the cost. The hospitals fear they will bear the burden of
patients who cannot afford to pay their bills. The plan they
presented to Brewer would impose a 4.2 percent tax on hospital
bills. But Laurie Liles with the hospital association said that
does not mean higher bills.

(And that is because it is used to draw down federal funds that
are paid back to the hospitals. The hospitals are made whole in
the aggregate. And it will not be shifted on to patients or
commercial payors.)

The proposal also includes what Liles called reforms, like a
larger co-pay by AHCCCS recipients for using the emergency rooms
for routine care. Overall, she figures the plan could preserve
care for about 173,000. Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson
said Brewer was encouraged that the hospitals have come up with a
plan but was noncommittal as to whether it could gain her support.
For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.