Phoenix, AZ – The argument by Republicans is the law is unconstitutional. Much
of the opposition relates to a requirement that individuals
purchase health insurance for themselves or face a federal fine.
Attorney General Terry Goddard, a Democrat and a candidate for
governor, refused to join a lawsuit already filed by counterparts
in more than a dozen other states challenging the law. So this
lets Brewer, a Republican like the majority of state lawmakers,
strike out on her own. Sen. Jack Harper said the move is
(We're seeking to protect the citizens from this unconstitutional
socialism that is in full bloom in Congress. The socialists of
today are only one gun confiscation away from being the
communists of tomorrow.)
Rep. Tom Chabin said the criticism of the bill ignores the
reality of health care in this country. He said a million
Arizonans who don't now qualify for the state Medicaid program
can't afford health insurance. And he said many businesses would
like to insure their workers but can't afford it.
(The national health care act gives everyone the dignity of
providing for themselves and relieves them of a sense of crisis
any time a member of their family or their employee becomes ill.)
But Rep. Nancy Barto said that presumes the system would actually
work that way. She said one problem with so-called universal
health care is that people will go to the doctor at the drop of a
hat, overwhelming the system.
(Access to insurance is not access to health care. Every
American, every Arizonan, will have health insurance under this
bill. Does that mean health care? Absolutely not. There'll be
waiting lists and rationing as a result.)
The other part of the law that Brewer wants to challenge deals
with a provision which says if Arizona wants future federal
health care dollars, it cannot cut eligibility for existing
programs. That would force lawmakers to reverse the just-enacted
budget which cuts enrollment in the Arizona Health Care Cost
Containment System by more than 310,000 and totally eliminates
the Kids Care program that provide nearly free insurance to
children of the working poor. The governor and Republicans
contend that constitutes an unconstitional mandate on the states.
But Rep. David Schapira said that's no more than a mandate then
when a state agrees to enact certain safety laws to get federal
(Like transportation funding, this bill does not require any
state to follow any of the quote-unquote mandates in the
legislation. We are only required to follow those things if we
decide to pull down the federal funds.)
But Rep. John Kavanagh said that ignores the fiscal reality of
the situation. He said Washington takes money from Arizonans and
then agrees to give some of it back -- with strings attached --
knowing states will do whatever is necessary to get it. He called
the whole program insidious.
(It's like a heroin pusher, giving the drugs to his client
cheaply in the beginning until the client is hooked. And then,
the ax, falls, you're hooked, and they have you where they want
you. The federal government has us where it wants us. We can't
Democrats predicted the lawsuit will be thrown out. They said
that, without an actual mandate, the state has no basis to sue.
And they said Arizona has no legal standing to sue over the
requirement that individuals must purchase insurance. But Sen.
Ron Gould said the state needs to act on behalf of its residents.
(The people don't have the money to join together to form a
class-action lawsuit. They expect us as the government of the
great state of Arizona to do that for them.)
For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.