When it comes to the thinking of Arizonans across the state, 2013 won’t be their first rodeo on the subject of expanded coverage. Citizens’ opinions don’t seem to have wavered over the years.
The sentiment has been both clear and consistent: Arizonans want to cover more of their fellow citizens. Sixty-three percent of voters approved Proposition 204 in 2000 – a highly decisive majority amidst a generation of increasingly tight votes and polemic positions on nearly every other subject of governance. Not much has changed since then, even against the backdrop of lawmakers’ decisions to freeze coverage during the great recession. A November 2012 AHCCCS Administration summary of public comments amounts to a small phone book worth of submissions from “individuals, family members, healthcare organizations, healthcare providers and advocacy groups” championing expanded coverage. SLHI and a small group of partners went one step further and conducted a telephone poll of 500 randomly selected Arizonans that found over 60 percent backed Medicaid (pre-freeze) restoration or expansion.
Whether they go to the polls, get solicited for comments or get polled, a more accessible system and more citizens with health care coverage is what Arizonans say they want.