AZ, Arizona, and Arizona health care: A $2.3B expansion
Posted February 05, 2020 11:57:26 In the days before President Donald Trump announced plans to roll back Medicare, the expansion of the Medicaid program had been one of his most popular initiatives.
In the weeks leading up to the inauguration, the Republican-controlled Congress tried to kill the expansion by enacting a bill that would have shut down Medicare by 2026.
The legislation died in committee.
The AHCA, which was drafted by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), would expand Medicaid to nearly 10 million low-income Americans by 2024, raising $1.2 trillion.
While the expansion is a welcome boost for Americans across the country, it will not fix the underlying problems of the health care system in Arizona, Arizona State University researchers say.
“The real problem is that we’ve gotten to the point where we’ve got this really large number of people in this state, but they’re not actually getting any care,” said Dr. Scott Buss, a professor of medical economics at Arizona State.
Buss said the state’s uninsured rate is now about 20%, the highest in the country.
The state’s healthcare needs are the highest and most pressing in the nation, but that’s the result of a combination of factors, he said.
“In addition to the lack of coverage, the number of patients in our hospitals is so low that we’re not even able to treat a full spectrum of illnesses,” Buss told Fortune.
The Arizona Health Care System is currently responsible for about 14,000 beds and about 1,600 patients, according to state figures.
That’s less than a quarter of what it needed to treat an expected 8,500 patients in 2020.
The problems are compounded by the lack and complexity of the system, Buss added.
“We’re doing everything we can, but we’re also trying to take care of everyone,” Bus said.
Many of the issues are beyond the control of the state or the federal government.
In recent years, the state has struggled to expand Medicaid because of financial woes and a shortage of staff.
While many states have done some expansion of Medicaid, including New Mexico and Wyoming, Arizona has largely failed to achieve similar expansion.
In 2016, it was the only state to expand the program in the U.S. However, Bus and others have said the current political climate and the state of Arizona’s economy mean the expansion could not be successful.
“It’s going to be hard to get an expansion that’s going have the effect we want,” Buses said.
The lack of expansion in Arizona is not an anomaly.
According to the U, Arizona and Washington, D.C., states have expanded Medicaid by more than 5 million people in the last decade.
In addition to Arizona, the Arizona health system has received federal assistance totaling $2,929,000 since 2012, including $2 million in the 2018 budget.
Arizona has been hit especially hard by the recession, with the state losing $4 billion in revenue over the last two years.
As a result, many of the more than half-million uninsured in the state have been forced to move out of their homes.
Buses and others say that even if Arizona were to continue to have a high uninsured rate, the lack the money to cover them would lead to a drop in the overall number of residents that could help stabilize the state.
The American Hospital Association estimates that Arizona is one of the nation’s most uninsured states, and Buss believes the state needs to be a part of a comprehensive health care plan.
“There’s a lot of work to be done.
I think it’s going a little bit in the right direction, but I don’t think it’ll be enough,” Bussy said.
In Arizona, Bussy is optimistic that the ACA’s Medicaid expansion will be able to address the state and state-run healthcare system’s problems.
“As long as we continue to invest in the system in the way we did, we should be able,” Bussed said.