The Farley Report from Phoenix #137: 8-16-11

Howdy,  Friends O'Farley,

It's the back-to-school edition of the Farley Report, and, thanks to $1.6 billion in Republican cuts from the Legislature over the past three years, our public school students are now dealing with the largest class sizes in history along with new fees and old textbooks.

So once again, our schools need your help.  Above all, get all your friends to vote for a different legislative majority in 2012, but until then, consider volunteering or donating to your local school district who could use your human and financial resources more than ever right now. You can find out more about helping TUSD here: http://tusd1.org/contents/volunteer_howto.html and helping Amphi here: http://www.amphifoundation.org/pages/fundraising/amphi_foundation_donations.htm

This past week didn't just feature attacks on our children, it also featured attacks on single childless adults in poverty. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Mark Brain upheld the Republican legislative cuts to our AHCCCS Medicaid program, eliminating 135,000 Arizonans from coverage this year and many more in the future.

Judge Brain not only ruled the cuts were legal, he also undercut the Voter Protection Act along the way. He claimed that while Prop 204 -- which we passed in 2000 to force the Legislature to provide health care to every Arizonan in poverty -- can require that coverage, it does not require the legislature to fund it, even if that was clearly the voters' intent. Needless to say, Tim Hogan of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest will be appealing that ruling, and I still have hopes that he will prevail and restore the coverage for all those in poverty.

If you are one of those who has lost coverage thanks to these actions by the Legislative majority, I know that hoping for the best won't help you keep your coverage right now. Several of you have already called me to ask what you can do. There are a few resources that might be useful to you that I have included on the bottom of this email. Feel free to pass these along to other people who may be in need.

As regular Farley Report readers know, the cuts will not only hurt those who are losing their health care, they will hurt us all. These folks will now go to emergency rooms for much more expensive and unreimbursed care, further stressing our hospitals, increasing our costs, and endangering our entire health delivery system. The loss of $1.5 billion in federal matching funds that go with these cuts are $1.5 billion gone from our economy, meaning the loss of tens of thousands of health care jobs as well.

Interestingly, all this devastation for the sake of filling the deficit hole were revealed to be less necessary a couple of weeks ago when we found that Arizona income tax revenues had dramatically increased this year, erasing the leftover deficit. There's an ironic twist in the source of this unexpected windfall -- owners of foreclosed homes who could no longer claim the mortgage interest deduction, many of whom are likely single childless adults who are no longer eligible for AHCCCS coverage, despite their economic struggles.

As if all this weren't enough, it seems that Republican political leaders are not satisfied with attacking just our education and public safety and public health systems. They are now going after something that once was the hallmark of bipartisan cooperation: Our transportation system.

As jaw-dropping as it may seem to us outside the beltway, libertarian anarchist Grover Norquist and some of his fellow puppeteers -- who pull the strings on the Tea Party -- are talking about not renewing the 18.4-cent-per-gallon federal gas tax, which is set to expire September 30. This is the sole source of funding for our nation's transportation system, a source that has already been in decline for years.

That's right -- DC conservatives want to eliminate the last remaining source of national funding for our roads, rails, buses, and bikes -- and not replace it with anything else. Their reason? According to Doug Heye, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, "Gas prices are really affecting families. If you have to drive 20 miles to work every day, those are real costs.?

Before this crazy talk becomes crazy action (as happens a lot in DC lately), I hope someone asks him how saving 18.4 cents on a $4.00 gallon of gas matters if there are no longer any maintained roads for driving. Especially if the oil companies just jack up that price another 18.4 cents the next week. And I shudder to think of the hundreds of thousands of transportation-related jobs that would be lost nationwide and how that would ensure a double dip recession or worse.

Believe it or not, there is good news this week.

The Gallup Poll released data on people's political identification in the 50 states for the first half of this year, and Arizona turns out to be one of the top seven most politically balanced and competitive states in the Union.

According to their press release: "The most balanced states politically in the first half of 2011 were Virginia and Mississippi (both are evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats), Colorado (with a one-percentage-point Republican advantage), Missouri, Arizona, and Arkansas (with two-point Republican advantages), and Georgia (with a two-point Democratic advantage)." By comparison, Utah has a 32-point Republican advantage.

You can read more at: http://www.gallup.com/poll/148949/hawaii-democratic-utah-republican-state.aspx

This underscores that our two-thirds Republican majority in the Legislature is NOT representative of the people of Arizona. The more they push their extremist agenda, the more we have a probability of major change in the November 2012 election, especially with more competitive districts that will come from our independent redistricting process. The legislative actions of this and next year will cause short term pain, but they will underscore to voters that it is time for major change.

I am committed to working in competitive districts throughout the state to help elect great legislators in the next election. We need to work toward a majority if we hope to save our state. Please contribute what you can to my campaign as I carry out my leadership duties to recruit and support a new generation of Arizona leaders. I can't do this alone. I need your support right now. 

http://www.FriendsOFarley.org

---> You can contribute up to $424 per person online by going to my website and clicking on the "Contribute" button on the top banner. Thanks so much for helping us transform our state. Every dollar you can share will make a difference. <---

http://www.FriendsOFarley.or 

Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your Representative.

Steve

Steve Farley
Arizona State Representative, District 28
Assistant Minority Leader
Ranking Member, Transportation Committee
Ways & Means Committee
Ethics Committee
Legislative Council
Capitol office: 602-926-3022
Tucson office: 520-398-6000
Official email: sfarley at azleg.gov

Please contribute up to $424 per person to help me carry on the work:

http://www.FriendsOFarley.org

RESOURCES FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR AHCCCS COVERAGE

WellCare Foundation: This is an organization that provides free healthcare to single working mothers and their children who are over the income limits for Medicaid but who don't make enough to pay for their own health care. They are networked with 135 statewide healthcare providers who donate their services and have five clinics throughout the state. Here is a link to their website: http://wellcarefoundation.org/index.aspx. Their founder and CEO, Marge Ebeling, has offered to provide a tour to any of our members. Please let me know if you are interested and I will set it up.

Community Action Programs: These regional programs offer highly discounted pay-as-you-go medical care. Members don't pay a monthly premium but pay an annual enrollment fee and then a low fee at the time of service. Providers within the network are listed on each applicable website. Qualification is based on region, income requirements, and ineligibility for state or federal healthcare. Any potential member is screened for eligibility for state or federal programs prior to enrollment. Here are the programs and websites by region:

Pima County: Pima Community Access Program, http://www.pcap.cc/index.php

Arizona Association of Community Health Centers: This is the umbrella association for Community Health Centers throughout the state. Community Health Centers (also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers) are non-profit clinics located in medically underserved areas and provide primary care for individuals regardless of ability to pay. They provide family and internal medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN, lab, prenatal and parinatal, pharmaceutical, and case management services. Their website provides a list of Centers throughout the state: http://www.aachc.org/aachc-members

Veteran's Care: Veterans of the Armed Services can be referred to the Department of Veteran's Services Administration. This is a link to a summary of VA programs and services offered throughout Arizona: http://www1.va.gov/opa/publications/factsheets/ss_arizona.pdf

Federal Preexisting Condition Insurance Program: This federal program was designed to provide health insurance coverage to people who are uninsured because of pre-existing conditions. In order to receive insurance through the program, individuals must be citizens or lawful permanent residents, not have been covered for the previous 6 months before applying, and have a pre-existing condition. Here is a link to more information and the application process: https://www.pcip.gov 

Prescription Drug Assistance: Families who cannot afford their prescription drugs can be referred to one of these low/no cost resources

Copper RX: The copper card is a free prescription drug discount card available to any Arizona. http://azgovernor.gov/coppercard/

Partnership for Prescription Drug Assistance: A free program for uninsured and financially struggling patients who lack prescription coverage to get access to prescription assistance programs that offer medicines for free or nearly free. This program offers a single point of access to information on 475 public and private patient assistance programs, including nearly 200 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies. The program also provides information on health care clinics and helps patients contact government programs. http://www.pparx.org/

A link to all DES Programs (including child care, financial and food support, health insurance, unemployment, disability support, and senior services): https://www.azdes.gov/default.aspx

Other tips for individuals losing coverage:

- Keep denial letters for AHCCCS coverage because other programs will want to see proof that they are not eligible.

- Appeals must be filed within 10 days. Appeals may be filed via the AHCCCS appeals form or in any other format the individual chooses (i.e. letter). AHCCCS just needs adequate notice in any format within the specified timeframe that the denial or termination is being appealed.

Paid for by Friends O' Farley