By Associated Press - Thursday, June 22, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - The Latest on reaction in Arizona to the U.S. Senate health care proposal (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

The association representing Arizona’s hospitals says the Senate bill repealing much of the Affordable Care Act would be devastating to millions of Americans who rely on Medicaid for their care.

The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association issued a statement after Thursday’s release of the Senate bill saying it has been calling on leaders in Washington for months to find a workable replacement. It called the version passed by the House last month “a categorical failure” and said the Senate version is “equally troubling.”

The group says the more gradual phase-out of Medicaid expansion now covering 400,000 Arizonans gives states more time to adjust. But that still will cause a “massive shift” of financial risk from the federal government to states, health care providers and patients.


2 p.m.

Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs says he’s disappointed by what he calls “the lack of resolve” to repeal former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

The Republican congressman who was formerly president of the Arizona Senate says the American people demanded a full repeal and the proposal released by the U.S. Senate on Thursday doesn’t fulfill that promise.

He is among the few Republicans who voted against the House health care bill last month, saying then that it also failed to fully repeal “Obamacare.”

The Senate bill would largely end the expansion of Medicaid that covers about 14 million Americans, cut the taxes that paid for expansion and end the insurance mandate for individuals and businesses. But it maintains the health insurance marketplaces and tax subsidies that help people pay premiums.


1:45 p.m.

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is urging Congress to slow down and find a way to save Medicaid expansion that would be virtually eliminated under a U.S. Senate proposal.

Brewer said the Senate plan released Thursday would harm the state’s most vulnerable citizens, including children, seniors and the disabled. And she says cutting Medicaid will cost health care jobs, could force rural hospitals to close and eventually cause private insurance premiums to rise. That’s because those losing coverage will still seek treatment in hospital emergency rooms that has to be paid for somehow.

Brewer shocked her fellow Republicans in 2013 when the key part of former President Barack Obama’s health care law. Medicaid expansion now covers about 400,000 people.

Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake are so far not saying if they back the new Senate proposal.


1 p.m.

Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake are so far not saying if they back a new Senate health care proposal repealing much of Barack Obama’s health care law and imposing big cuts to Medicaid.

McCain said he’s closely reviewing the draft legislation released Thursday and will be speaking with Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and other Arizonans before making a decision. Flake tweeted that he’s reviewing the plan and his spokesman would not provide more information on his position.

The Senate bill essentially ends Obama’s expansion of Medicaid, costing up to 400,000 Arizonans coverage within about six years. Ducey has been pressuring the senators for more flexibility on Medicaid but hasn’t said how he might avoid dropping those people from coverage. His spokesman had no immediate comment.

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