Group kicks off Medicaid opposition at Capitol - KMSP-TV

Group kicks off Medicaid opposition at Capitol


In a special session called by Governor Jan Brewer a few weeks ago, lawmakers approved a budget and also approved an expansion of Medicaid, commonly referred to as ObamaCare.

Some conservative legislators and activists are joining forces to get a state-wide referendum.

"The expansion of ObamaCare has passed the legislature and we are now down to our last line of defense which is you, the people," said Republican Rep. Warren Petersen.

Conservative republicans kicked off a grassroots effort to block a new law that would expand of Medicaid in Arizona.

Former state senators Ron Gould and Frank Antenori are spearheading the efforts.

"We think it's an overreach. It's going to be expensive to the taxpayer and the economy is going to suffer," said Antenori.

Their goal is to gather enough signatures to get it on the ballot for Arizona voters to decide.

"If you want to give people healthcare and access to healthcare, there are other ways to do it," said Antenori.

"This is a very critical bill. It's very important to have. It would provide healthcare for hundreds of thousands of people who would ordinarily not have healthcare," said Democrat Sen. Steve Gallardo.

But, democrats say the expansion of Medicaid would bring much needed money to the state and help an estimated 300,000 Arizonans who are not covered.

"They do not like the affordable healthcare, but the fact is the affordable healthcare is the law of the land. Supreme Court has ruled on it, it is here to stay, so we need--as AZ policy makers--need to start implementing what is already law," said Gallardo.

"The states are getting sucked into a trap.  The first three years they'll get all these federal dollars and then when the federal government scales it back the states are going to have to make up the difference," said Antenori.

In order to pass this referendum to the next phase, organizers say they need to gather at least 100,000 signatures by the September 10 due date.

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