The vote to approve the American Health Care Act (AHCA) yesterday was not only close in the House (217-213), it was also close among Arizona’s congressional delegation. Our state’s nine representatives actually voted 5-4 against the bill. The votes went along party lines with one exception…..Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert) who voted against the legislation. Below is a look at how each member voted.
Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert) Nay
Trent Franks (R-Glendale) Yea
Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) Nay
Paul Gosar (R-Prescott) Yea
Raul Grijalva (D-Yuma) Nay
Martha McSally (R-Tucson) Yea
Tom O’Halleran (D-Yavapai Co.) Nay
David Schweikert (R-Scottsdale) Yea
Krysten Sinema (D-Phoenix/Mesa) Nay
Biggs was one of 20 Republicans who voted “no” along with 193 Democrats. The House voted 217-213 to pass the bill.
In a statement explaining his vote, Biggs criticized the measure for leaving “the basic framework of Obamacare in place,” and “even worse, I have seen no compelling evidence that the AHCA will offer substantive relief to Arizona families who have been crushed by devastatingly high health insurance premiums.”
The bill now heads to the Senate. The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) is hopeful that Sen. McCain (R) and Sen. Flake (R) are willing to listen to our concerns and look for ways to improve this legislation. AzHHA is not a political organization, but we strongly believe the AHCA….as it reads right now – is bad for the patients, health care system and economy in Arizona. AzHHA President and CEO Greg Vigdor is in Washington D.C. meeting with our national partner, the American Hospital Association (AHA), to talk next steps about making sure this bill benefits the people, patients and communities of our state.
Of utmost concern to us are the proposed changes to Medicaid and the impact these will have on Arizonans served by the program. We believe the current AHCA bill will do great damage to our Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) medicaid program, which could leave hundreds of thousands of our fellow Arizonans without coverage over time.
We are also concerned about the impact that the AHCA will have on the state’s economy. Medicaid Restoration was a key factor in stabilizing the healthcare sector after the Great Recession. According to the American Hospital Association, Arizona hospitals supported more than 190,000 Arizona jobs directly or indirectly in 2014 and contributed more than $23 billion in state economic activity. The infographics below demonstrate the economic importance of hospitals to Arizona’s economy.
AzHHA’s Vice President of Policy Development, Debbie Johnston, released a statement on the potential fallout in our state following yesterday’s House vote. Click on the video link below to watch it.
We understand and agree that many improvements can be made to the Medicaid program, as well as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – commonly known as Obamacare. We are not suggesting the current system is a panacea. We simply believe this new legislation is not the answer for Arizona. As we have shared before and after the election, we are prepared to work with Congress and other policy makers on building a better way for America’s and Arizona’s healthcare delivery system. Only by working together can we achieve our Association’s long-term vision of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation.