Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid approved provisions of Arizona’s 1115 waiver that will allow the state to implement work requirements and institute unnecessary disenrollment periods and redeterminations for those currently enrolled in Medicaid. This will potentially impact the health coverage of more than 120,000 Arizonans. In response, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva issued the following statement:
“CMS’s stretch of the law is in line with President Trump’s commonplace distortion of facts. Congress never intended 1115 waivers to kick people out of the Medicaid program, and the law explicitly prohibits that. Unfortunately, Arizona is now likely to join the ranks of states tied up in lengthy and unnecessary legal battles—all because of their ideological desires to take health coverage away from those vulnerable Americans who need it. Our hospitals will once again be flooded with uncompensated care and families struggling with health issues—including women who have recently given birth—will be one medical bill away from bankruptcy.
“One in four Arizonans depend on Medicaid for health coverage, and this decision only puts more administrative burdens on the state, raises the likelihood of a prolonged legal battle, and harms Arizona’s working families. Furthermore, approval of this waiver has the potential to harm Native American populations, whose required consultation process was disrespected from the very beginning of the process. Work requirements are not a ‘pathway out of poverty,’ and the Trump Administration must stop is baseless and harmful attacks on vulnerable individuals.
“Under the new Democratic House majority, I will work to hold this administration accountable for their actions, and that includes revealing their illegal distortion of Congressional intent in order to rip away people’s health insurance.”
“Approval of this waiver has the potential to harm Native American populations, whose required consultation process was disrespected from the very beginning of the process.”
Rep. Grijalva has led efforts urging CMS to deny Arizona’s waiver. In February 2018, he headed the Arizona delegation in a public comment to CMS. In August 2018, he sent a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma urging her to consult with tribes to ensure that CMS practices do not harm Native Americans.
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