Monday, March 22, 2010

Giffords: GOP Lawmakers May Have Cost State Nearly $7 Billion In Health Care Funding

Posted By on Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 12:55 PM

While Republicans are attacking her for voting in favor of the health-care reform legislation yesterday, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is going on the offensive against GOP lawmakers and Gov. Jan Brewer, who enacted deep cuts to health-care programs earlier this month, including stripping health-care coverage from an estimated 310,000 adults on AHCCCS and eliminating the KidsCare program. (Learn more about some of those cuts in last week's feature story, which you can find here.)

The statement from Giffords' office:

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is asking the Department of Health and Human Services for guidance about potentially devastating cuts to Medicaid as a result of the state budget approved by the Arizona Legislature and Governor.

Immediately after the U.S House of Representatives passed landmark health insurance reform legislation, Giffords asked HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to clarify whether Arizona could lose nearly $7 billion in federal funding as a result of the sweeping cuts that were signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer on March 18.

The cuts eliminate KidsCare, making Arizona the first state in the nation to cancel its State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Elimination of the program means an estimated 50,000 Arizona children will go without healthcare.

The cuts also make changes to the Arizona

Health Care Cost Containment System that will strip more than 300,000 Arizonans from the Medicaid program.

Because of the actions taken by the Legislature and the Governor, Giffords believes that federal taxes paid by Arizonans would not return to the state where they are needed to provide essential health care services.

“I am extremely concerned,” Giffords wrote, “that Arizona may stand to lose a significant source of annual funding, which is anticipated to amount to $6.96 billion” in 2010.

Giffords has been a strong advocate for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program in Congress. She believes that the federal funds that support a significant part of KidsCare are a wise of the tax dollars that Arizonans send to Washington every year.

Last June, Giffords was part of a bipartisan majority in the House to support legislation aimed at extending health insurance to children.

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