Temperatures are dropping as December rolls on and the court appeals run out related to the state’s Medicaid freeze for adults covered by Proposition 204. Last week the Arizona Court of Appeals upheld the legislature’s decision to reverse the ten-year-old, voter-approved proposition.
Meanwhile, some 30,000 children have lost KidsCare coverage and 129,000 remain on the waiting list because enrollment was frozen for budget reasons two years ago. Early this month an option for adding 19,000 kids back was announced, but the freeze remains in place and children continue to fall off of KidsCare. That makes it possible that net enrollment won’t change that much at all by the time the idea gets approval and is implemented.
The issue at hand is Arizona’s health and well-being. Several hundred thousand people will be denied access to the most cost-effective kinds of regular and preventive care today, only to suffer diminished health and present themselves in the future for more costly types of care. Our elders would characterize this as a penny-wise, pound-foolish approach.
The state may have trimmed its budget deficit short-term, but the true costs of keeping Arizonans healthy can only be shifted throughout the system and to everyone who touches it. Get ready. We’re all going to feel the chill.