|2008 Ballot Propositions||
Arizona Secretary of State
|Ballot Proposition Voter's Guide - PDF|
|2008 Ballot Propositions||
Arizona Secretary of State
|Ballot Proposition Voter's Guide - PDF|
ARTICLE II, SECTION 36. BECAUSE ALL PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT THEIR HEALTH CARE, NO LAW SHALL BE PASSED THAT RESTRICTS A PERSON'S FREEDOM OF CHOICE OF PRIVATE HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS OR PRIVATE PLANS OF ANY TYPE. NO LAW SHALL INTERFERE WITH A PERSON'S OR ENTITY'S RIGHT TO PAY DIRECTLY FOR LAWFUL MEDICAL SERVICES, NOR SHALL ANY LAW IMPOSE A PENALTY OR FINE, OF ANY TYPE, FOR CHOOSING TO OBTAIN OR DECLINE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE OR FOR PARTICIPATION IN ANY PARTICULAR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM OR PLAN.
State law requires the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) Staff to prepare a summary of the fiscal impact of certain ballot measures. Proposition 101 is not estimated to have a state fiscal impact. The proposition may affect future operation of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) and state employee health benefits. The impact on these programs cannot be determined in advance.
As an orthopedic surgeon, there is no greater satisfaction than seeing your patients get back to doing what they like to do. Helping patients achieve their goals means honoring their wishes to pursue the care that they believe is best.
On behalf of the Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity (www.aztaxpayers.org), we encourage all Arizona taxpayers and health care consumers to vote YES on Prop 101, the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act.
One of the hallmarks of the American free enterprise system is freedom of choice. When consumers are free to choose, the result is higher quality and lower prices. But over the past 60 years, our national and state governments have increasingly intervened in the health care marketplace, restricting consumer choice. America still has the highest-quality health care in the world, but prices have increased much faster than productivity in the medical sector. As a result, many Americans find health insurance unaffordable. Others are afraid to change jobs, because of their dependence on employer-provided health insurance.
Our concern is that some of the health care "reform" proposals put forth by special interest groups (including some big insurance companies) attempt to reduce costs by further restricting the choices of health care consumers. That is the opposite of what Americans need. We should reduce costs by increasing freedom of choice for health care consumers, and by making sure that patients in need have the widest possible variety of medical options.
I have been a general surgeon for 30 years now. In that time, I have seen miraculous advances in medical technology and pharmaceuticals. There are conditions and diseases that, when I began my medical practice, were considered untreatable, but today we can actually cure.
Helping people deal with pain, death, and fear has taught me how important it is for people to have control over their own health care decisions. People need to know all the options that exist for them--including non-traditional "alternative" options. They need to know that they will always be able to exercise those options, even if that means paying directly for some of them.
That's why I am working to pass Proposition 101, "The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act." I know, more than most that, our health care system badly needs reform. But I have seen how other nations--and now some of our own states--have passed reforms that restrict the ability of people to choose or obtain the medicines, tests, doctors, health plans, or treatments that they desire--even if they are willing to pay directly for them. I don't want any reforms to have those consequences, however unintended.
If my years in government and business have taught me anything, they have taught that whenever the political system tries to tackle a problem that involves billions of dollars, the special interests come out of the woodwork to fight for their piece of the pie. Oftentimes, well-intentioned attempts at reform degenerate into a pork-pulling wrestling match.
As we head into the election of 2008, health care reform is on the front burner. And it should be. Our system, which offers the best health care in the world, has costs that are out of control, and people are finding themselves priced out of the market. But my biggest fear is that once the politicians sit down with the special interests to fix the system, the only party not represented at the table will be us patients.
But if we patients lose control over our health care decisions, one of our most precious freedoms, then we will no longer be free. We will be hostages of the special interests and their political friends.
"The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act" guarantees that, whatever health care reform is eventually enacted, it can never trespass on our right to make our own health care choices. That's why I urge you to vote YES on Prop. 101.
We Arizonans have the opportunity of voting for Proposition 101 which will ensure that no matter what changes occur to fix our health care delivery system or make it more affordable, that our freedom to choose a plan, doctor or get second opinions will be preserved. The last thing we want as patients is to be restricted by government bureaucrats or lobbyists as to what procedures we can receive especially for a lift threatening illness or condition.
Proposition 101 ensures that we are free to choose in the future the kinds of treatments that we receive and that we have control over our most personal decisions along with the advice of our trusted physicians.
When our nation was founded, Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence, fought to have medical freedom protected in our Bill of Rights alongside our first amendment right to freedom of speech and of the press. He thought it necessary to make sure that the government could never decide or dictate your health care in the ever evolving and changing world of medicine. Never has that risk been greater than today.
As a neurosurgeon at the Barrow Neurological Institute, I utilize the latest in cutting edge technology to provide the best care to patients suffering from complex neurological diseases, such as brain tumors and aneurysms.
As these new technologies continue to arise, the costs of providing state-of-the-art medical care rise as well. Increased health care costs make it harder and harder for all of our residents to get health insurance. I worry that many Arizonans cannot afford to purchase health insurance. Reforms are needed.
Many nations--and now many of the states of OUR nation--have made attempts to deal with the problem of the uninsured. But what frightens me is that in most--if not all--of these instances, the reforms have resulted in restricting the ability of patients to choose their own doctors; or to seek a new and innovative form of therapy-or an alternative form of therapy; or to get a second or third opinion; or to purchase the type of health insurance plan that best suits their needs.
As an orthopaedic surgeon, I have devoted most of my adult life to eliminating the pain and suffering that patients immobilized by severe joint disease must endure. Many of these patients have come to me from other countries, such as Canada, where their health care systems make them wait months, and sometimes years, to get the kind of surgical intervention that Americans expect to receive in a timely manner.
I have witnessed firsthand how government-managed health care systems can, and do, fail to provide the care they claim to guarantee. I have seen patients come here from other countries seeking medications, doctors, and treatments that they are denied, by law, in their own countries.
The health care systems from which these people flee were all designed with the best intentions. They were created to obtain the most health care coverage for the most people; however, the realities cannot be ignored. In an effort to deliver health care that is cost-effective to the taxpayers, these systems have limited options, choice, and quality care to the very people they were designed to help.
When we reform our health care system, I want to ensure that the right of all patients to make their own health care choices is not violated. This includes the right to directly purchase the type of care they want. If people lose control over their own health care decisions, they lose control over their lives.
"The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act" guarantees in the Arizona Constitution, that the right of all patients to make their own health care choices will never be infringed. I urge you to vote YES on Proposition 101.
My years in practice in clinical internal medicine in central Phoenix, treating diverse people from all walks of life has taught me that there is no more personal or precious right than the right to make your own decisions regarding your health care. Whether we are dealing with a fatal disease like cancer or a painful, disabling disease like arthritis, patients must be able to make their own choices about the kinds of treatments, tests, and doctors they want to see.
They must be free to choose alternative methods of care--even if the bureaucratic establishment does not recognize them. A central part to being a patient is deciding how, why, and where you pay for your healthcare. It is time to constitutionally protect patients from government and bureaucracies that may seek to take away our inalienable rights as patients to choose the financial arrangements of our own health care.
My recent service as President of the Arizona Medical Association brought me face to face with politicians, bureaucrats, and special interest groups, all of whom had their own ideas about what kinds of health care options should be made available to patients. Whether they were well-intentioned politicians, budget-conscious bureaucrats, or profit-driven insurance companies, they all thought they knew better than the patients did about health care decisions.
I have been a family physician in rural Arizona for over 30 years. If there is one thing that I have come to appreciate during that time, it is the value of choice and options for patients seeking health care.
Rural areas of the state are often lacking in many of the specialty and other health care services that urban areas provide. In some parts of the state, patients sometimes need to travel long distances or wait for lengthy periods to get essential health care services.
I want to make sure that, whatever type of health care reform is enacted, it isn't a reform that takes away the peoples' right to choose what kind of doctor or service they want--even if they are willing to pay for it directly. I want to make sure people retain the right to choose whether or not they want to participate in any particular health plan.
When the politicians at the state capitol hammer out a health care reform package, I want to make sure that the Arizona Constitution guarantees that the rights of the people--urban OR rural--to make their own health care decisions, shall not be infringed. "The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act" places that guarantee in the Arizona Constitution.
Chiropractors understand the impact powerful special interests can have on a profession. Over the years, lobbyists have attempted repeatedly to make it more and more difficult for patients to have chiropractic care as an option for certain health problems.
The opportunity to protect the ability of patients to be in control of their health and health care and to determine which approaches and treatments are the most appropriate for them does not come along often.
No one can predict when or if they will be injured or sick. No one treatment works for everybody. Having choices can mean the difference between persistent pain and restored health. The best recipe to maximize health requires keeping patients in control over their health and health care.
For 100 years, the Arizona Dental Association and its members have been committed to advancing the dental and oral health of the public through leadership, education, and research. Our members are dedicated to providing preventive and restorative dental and oral health care to everyone in Arizona, tailored to their individual needs and we wholeheartedly support The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act.
Giving government complete control over what care you can receive and when, is not the solution. One system does not fit all. No single system should remove your personal freedom to decide the direction and treatment for you and your family.
The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act protects and serves patients, not dentists. It will protect the freedom to choose which treatment best fits your needs, the ability to seek out second opinions, the right to decide which dentist is best for you and your children--basic rights that should never be negotiable.
The Arizona Dental Association, representing 80% of all dentists in Arizona, is proud to encourage Arizonans to VOTE YES to preserve patient choice; VOTE YES to limit lobbyists and special interests; and VOTE YES to protect your RIGHTS.
As an operating room nurse, and now as a nurse practitioner, I see firsthand how important it is for patients to be in charge of their health care. As a mother, I want my daughter to continue to have as many choices as possible for her health and health care.
A one-size-fits-all government run health care plan will make no one happy exept special interest groups, especially the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. These two industries have far too much influence over our health already, and we are worse for it.
In a survey of 79 oncologists from McGill University Cancer Center, 64 said they themselves would not consent to treatment with Cisplatin, a common chemotherapy drug, while 58 oncologists said they would reject all the current trials being carried out by their establishment. Why? "The ineffectiveness of chemotherapy and its unacceptable degree of toxicity." But cancer is big business. Standard chemo and radiation will likely be Standard of Care for another 50 years, despite the better alternatives out there. Why? The influence of drug companies upon medical school curriculums and doctor education programs.
In a one-size-fits-all government run health care world, we would not be able to choose other alternative methods. Even if we wanted to pay out of pocket for something else, we would not be able to. We would be told exactly what we can do, and what we cannot. My health is a very, very, personal matter. You bet I want to have something to say about it.
Too many special interest groups find it profitable when people are sick. A health care system in the hands of bureaucrats and special interests will put someone else's profitability above my health. There is too much pressure upon elected officials to funnel our health care dollars into the pockets of special interest groups. Our basic right to choose is coming under attack and must be protected in the state constitution.
We need to make certain that, whatever legislation ultimately is approved by the Arizona Legislature or voters, any unintended consequences of such legislation do not impact on the people's right to make their own health care choices and decisions. Given the growing political clout of those who stand to profit enormously by certain health care schemes, our fundamental medical rights need to be protected within the Arizona Constitution.
Those with disabilities know that government-run health care will limit their ability to seek out and obtain specialized care and treatments. People who want naturopathic and homeopathic treatments know that government-run health care will limit their ability to obtain it.
Who will lose if this amendment passes? Those individuals and groups who believe that a government-run health care system, controlled by bureaucrats and special interests is the best kind of health care system reform.
The initiative will limit the power of special interest groups to engage in `back room' or `closed door' negotiations to get laws and regulations passed that claim to be for the benefit of all people, when in fact the laws and regulations first and foremost protect the interests of those who have the money and power to lobby most effectively.
I am a physician assistant, and work alongside and under the supervision of physicians. Physician assistants play an invaluable role in making health care more available, more efficient, and safer for the people of Arizona.
The people of Arizona that I am privileged to help take care value their choices. Most everyone understands that, while our health care system has real problems, the solution should not involve the sacrifice of giving up personal control over their health and health care.
We are well aware special interest groups wish to limit healthcare choices to a system which benefits those groups. To place the decision-making capacity for our healthcare in the hands of a government agency will further limit our choices, and further increase our dissatisfaction with "the system." Bureaucrats have no business making personal medical decisions for us.
Proposals abound that would worsen the situation by giving control to entities more interested in getting paid than giving good care. And the ugly issue of denying care to particular patients with specific problems - looms large.
Increasingly, consumers are rejecting the standard paradigm where you get a 10 minute office visit with someone on the "approved" providers list and walk out with a prescription while the assistant hollers, Next!" to a crowded waiting room.
Consumers are looking for better answers. More than 50 percent have stepped "out of the box" and partaken of Complementary and Alternative medicine. Often, consumers must pay out of their pockets for these treatments. They do so because they do not want to simply manage their disease, which is primarily what the conventional Standard of Care offers.
Attempts to put complete control over all health care delivery into the hands of an appointed bureaucracy means we will not even be able to pay out of own pockets if we wish to. Someone wants to draw a very tight noose around our necks. What a contemptuous lack of regard for we, the people.
Now more than ever, we need to address the issue of covering the thousands of uninsured Arizonans. However, real change cannot be in haste. In order to find success we must first build a foundation for reform.
The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act will create a constitutional amendment that lays the groundwork that will eventually help to effectively address this state's health care crisis. It is imperative that we enable our more than 6 million Arizona citizens to not be forced into a government regulated health care system, but rather provide them with the true, free and unencumbered choice of their own medical futures. In addition, this initiative will not hinder the efforts our government has already established through the AHCCCS program or Kids Care.
The Arizona Restaurant Association, the second largest trade organization in the state, representing one of Arizona's largest business communities and more than a quarter million employees, supports this measure and encourages the support of Arizona voters.
Before I entered private practice, I was a physician in the military. I had the opportunity to see what the practice of medicine is like in a world in which options and choices are controlled and limited--where budgets, bureaucracy, and politics decide the treatments, tests, and medicines available to the patient.
In the civilian world, people are free to set their own priorities and make their own choices. They can weigh the risks and benefits for themselves. They are free to decide if they want to try a new drug, a new test, or an alternative form of treatment.
In the area of diabetes management, new drugs, tests, and even surgeries continue to be developed at a breathtaking pace. I don't want to see the day come when some bureaucrat, motivated by budgets and politics, is the one who decides whether a person with diabetes will be able to try a new drug or procedure. That decision should always rest with the patient.
I spent two years in a wheelchair and listened to several doctors express doubts I would ever walk again or be without an oxygen tank. However, thanks to the most dynamic medical system yet known to man, fabulous doctors, new drugs, and seven surgeries, I can walk and breathe normally and be a mother to my two children. Stories similar to mine are shared by millions of others.
Having lived the first 25 years of my life as a military dependent, I have a quarter century of experience with a government-run healthcare system. My health depended on the convenience of the system.
Let's not let this happen in America and especially right here in Arizona. We need to empower PATIENTS, not faceless insurance companies or government clerks. We need to strengthen the individual's right to choose the health care they need and the doctor they prefer.
"The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act" makes health care choice a fundamental a right in Arizona. And just as importantly this measure does not infringe on the interests others may have to further expand health care for lower income individuals or children. It simply ensures that when it comes to health care, none of us will lose because we'll be able to choose . . . our doctor, our specialist, and the care we need to get better.
The Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association (AOMA), representing 1,500 osteopathic physicians (D.O.s), supports access to quality health care for Arizonans. Serving patients for their healthcare needs is a top priority. It is important that patients and their families be responsible and in control of their health care.
Our health care delivery "system" faces an uncertain future. The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act will help maintain a wide array of health care treatment choices available and accessible to Arizonans now and into the future. More importantly, the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act will protect the health care rights of all Arizonans
The mission of The Arizona Homeopathic and Integrative Medical Association includes the need defend the freedoms and abilities of our member physicians to practice medicine in the best interests of the patient. This often includes grass roots political action and a medical model (approach) that encourages and enhances the body's own healing powers, maximizes your healing potential with proper diet and the use of natural substances like vitamins and minerals.
The very ability of people to have access to the expertise of homeopathic and integrative practitioners is at risk. Some other groups and lobbying groups would like to make it harder, not easier, for patients to make homeopathic and integrative care one of their health care choices.
Whether we are talking about new forms of medical treatment, new surgical devices, or alternative forms of health care, we must respect the right of patients to be able to seek out, learn about, and choose what they decide is right for them.
I am concerned that, as our legislators attempt to bring needed reforms to our health care system, the various special interests--insurance companies, employer groups, political lobbyists--will influence the process in a way that will limit patients' rights to choose their own health care and health plan. We cannot let the financial interests of these lobbyist groups come ahead of the interests of patients.
The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act guarantees--in the Arizona Constitution--that we the people will always have the right to choose what kind of doctor we want to see, what kind of therapy we want to try, what kinds of medicines or surgical devices we want to obtain, and what kind of health plans we agree to participate in.
Your body is not a Toyota. There are no standard practices that apply to everyone's heart problem, multiple fracture or constant headache. The government cannot and should not be the great arbiter of what your physician prescribes as treatment or medication for you. Even if you and your neighbor are both diagnosed with the same condition, many factors contribute to the best treatment for each of you, unlike the book of standards to repair a transmission in an old Ford or a new Honda. Health care is personal and individual. Your government can't design a program to fit your needs. Sadly we've come to a time when we have to take legal action to guarantee that you will always have a choice.
Do you really want a nameless, faceless and blameless government employee dictating what treatment or prescription you and your doctor decide is right for you? Do you want to wait for months to see a specialist for your heart condition when your file is lost in some giant "Medical Supervision" office?
Reforms are necessary in the health care field; however, taking away your choice is the most horrible approach. Government doesn't have the right to give you a choice, you already have that right. Government can only take away your choices. We now have to ensure against that.
I believe it is my right as a citizen of the United States of America to be able to choose and be an active scriber and decision maker to the health care of my choice. No law should be passed that restricts my ability to choose and be an active decision maker in my healthcare choices regarding insurance plans and healthcare systems of my choice. I also believe no law should be passed that would charge penalties and fines to make healthcare decisions on my own for the well being of myself and my family.
But I do not want to think that some group of `experts' will be able say that my life, my health issues are not "important enough", and that the "greater good" means that me, or my husband, or my children, or grandchildren are "not worth" treating.
Proposition 101 protects them, protects me and my loved ones, and will protect all Arizonans from government bureaucrats that misunderstand my compassion as a license to control my health and health care.
I support the Arizona Freedom of Choice Act. I do not now or at any time wish to have laws passed that restrict my freedom to choose a private health care plan of any type. I believe all citizens should have the right to make informed decisions about their health care. I do not believe I should be declined the right to pay for the healthcare of my choice, if this is my choice. I want to continue to be an active decision maker in regards to my doctors, hospitals, and healthcare coverage.
We do not want a government-controlled system where access to even the simplest medical care - that we take for granted today in this country - is placed in the hands of bureaucrats who really have no direct connection or responsibility for any individual patient.
As a mother of five, I have had many chances to interact with doctors and nurses and other health care professionals as both a parent and as a patient. I have also worked in health care in nursing homes, physician offices, and hospitals for over 25 years.
And I know that unless we preserve and protect my rights to be remain in control over my health care and that of my children, the bureaucratic nightmares involved in getting care will expand beyond imagination.
I want traditional and alternative care, I want prescription medications, supplements, and natural methods to not be restricted by some government appointed `experts' and bureaucrats that care more about their lobbyist buddies than me, my family and my patients.
I am a native of Great Britain who is a proud naturalized American citizen. I have lived and seen firsthand how a government bureaucracy is not capable of providing individualized, compassionate, patient- driven health care.
Much of my family and many friends are still in England, living under the rules of a failing health care system. And while we certainly have problems in this country with cost and access, the options and availability of choices in health care, including the latest life-saving technologies, are far better in Arizona and the United States than in England.
How medicine has changed. My father would be simply amazed at the remarkable array of medications, imaging techniques, therapies, treatments, and surgeries that have become available since he passed away in 1972--health care choices that now routinely save, prolong, and improve lives.
As a Husband and Father, my family's well being must always come first when it comes to their health and subsequent care. In the last year, my daughter has spent 6 months in a pediatric hospital, in which we had a choice as to which one was best suited, got several opinions, not to excess and eventually was able to diagnose and treat her appropriately. We have also chosen to utilize Alternative medicine in the treatment of most common sickness and other minor medical issues, as the answer isn't always in a pill.
All of these options are important to me and my family. Thankfully, we live in a country/state that still affords us these options. I do not believe any law or lawmaker or lobbyist should interfere with a right that is so personal, as ones healthcare.
As I owner of a small business, I am a firm believer in providing my employees with full health care coverage and for them to have the ability to choose their providers of this health care. The relationship between a patient and their provider is a very special one, and as such, patients need to have the ability to choose with whom they want to develop this relationship.
We live in an incredible country and there are endless benefits to being an American citizen. One such freedom is the ability to make our own, personal choices for healthcare coverage. I do not believe that any law or law maker should interfere with this freedom. This is why I support the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act.
As a nurse with many years of experience, I work hard to see to it that my patients remain in control of their health and health care. I do not want to see government bureaucrats take over that control.
Many choices for health care exist, and some work better for certain people than others. It can be a real challenge to balance health conditions, patient and family desires, and available treatment options. What is right for my family and me may not be right for yours.
I work with surgeons through out the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. I understand that having the right physician performing the right operation, at the right time, requires more than just empty government and bureaucrat promises. As a provider of medical services that is involved in essential support services to doctors, nurses and hospitals on behalf of the surgical patient, I am acutely aware of the impact of seemingly arbitrary and random rules and regulations.
My craft involves helping patients get their surgeries performed safely and efficiently. I strongly believe that keeping control of health care decisions in the hands of patients and families, and out of the hands of special interests who are more interested in getting paid than the care given to particular patients with specific problems, is essential on the issue of patients' rights.
I am concerned Arizona is the focus of efforts that will be described as "the solution to universal health care" but are really about creating a government-run health care system that will not be accountable to patients, the consumer.
A government-run health care plan will be shaped in great part by special interest groups who generously fund political campaigns. The end result would hijack everyone's right to make their own choices in healthcare in an effort to force the flow of patients' dollars to special interest groups.
Patients are resisting the domination of medicine by the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. Many doctors are resisting an industrial "one size fits all" approach to human health. Increasingly, patients and doctors want a wider range of choices in health care.
The creation of HMOs and PPOs gave insurance companies more control. If I asked for applause from those who like how that turned out, the silence would be deafening. Shall we take it three steps further? No.
A variety of health care treatment alternatives exist and the public should be able to partake freely of those opportunities. We should not be forced into a government created plan about which we have no meaningful input, no control, no redress.
Some politicians are pushing a government takeover as the only solution to our healthcare problems. They think they know better than you. They want to socialize medicine; they want a "single payer" system. Do you really want the same type of government bureaucrat who ran FEMA during Hurricane Katrina to dictate your doctor, your health plan, and your treatment?
Every year, I get a physical. The lab facility closest to my home always has a long wait, so I pay a little more and drive down the street to a location without waiting. Others may prefer a location that is cheaper or closer to home, and are willing to wait. Competition and the freedom to choose allow both of us to be satisfied.
There are many reasons to want the freedom to choose your own doctor. Choosing a doctor is a very personal decision. Each person values location, education, experience, and just plain old "bedside manner" differently. You should not have to get permission from a government bureaucrat to change doctors for any reason; it should remain a personal decision.
This initiative does not prevent the government from fixing our healthcare problems. It just says that whatever they do, they cannot take away your right to choose your own doctor, hospital, health plan, or treatment.
2. The Amendment will NOT assure one's freedom to choose a personal physician, but will prevent the state from creating a system assuring everyone access to the care they require. This amendment will require private alternatives that may not be universal, would limit services, and exclude individuals with preconditions. This is not "choice," it is a mandate for restrictions.
3. Arizonans who now rely on Medicare or Medicaid could lose coverage. Private alternatives would have to be created to satisfy the amendment, but coverage of the elderly or the poor is not profitable. With no alternatives, Medicare and Medicaid could be lost.
4. The Proposition's goal, to prevent abuses associated with "socialized" medicine, is irrational. The only "socialized" medical programs in the US are the Veterans Health System, the Indian Health Service, and military medical services. None abuse the private sector. Socialized systems are funded by the Government. They provide services in government facilities by professionals who work for the U.S. Public Health Service. No one is abused by "socialized medicine" in America.
5. Passage of a Constitutional Amendment in Arizona would limit legislative options. It will increase the abuses that private practitioners, hospitals, and patients now suffer from private insurance carriers. The industry dictates reimbursement, determines the services patients receive, and dictates who shall be granted or denied access to care.
The health care system in the United States is seriously flawed, causing people to be maimed, and according to the U.S. Academy of Science causing at least 18,000 to die each year because they lack health care insurance.
In the spring of 2008, Frontline, the Public Broadcasting System show, surveyed the `universal health care' systems of five industrial nations (i.e., Japan, Great Britain, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Germany) in order to compare them to the fragmented health care system in the United States.
The largest economy in the world (i.e., United States) ranks 25th, 30th, 35th, etc. for various medical morbidity and mortality statistics compared to Japan (the number two economy) with Japan's health statistics always in the top ten.
Yet, the U.S. has the most expensive health care system by far. The U.S. per capita health care costs twice as much as Japan. The U.S. squanders 16% of our Gross Domestic Product for health care compared to Japan's 8%. In addition, only 6.5% of the health cost in Japan is for administration compared to the U.S.'s 21.5%. No health care - - just paperwork and profits while people are crippled or die.
All five countries surveyed contained three key elements: (1) all citizens must have health insurance - whether private or governmental was irrelevant, (2) no citizen may be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions, and (3) the insurance companies can not make a profit.
We at Healthy Arizona have demonstrated our ability to put before you initiatives that made sense and brought health care to literally hundreds of thousands of hard-working, low income Arizona families. You've voted, overwhelmingly, twice, for what we've put on the ballot, because you recognized that we are on your side, have no special interests to placate, and share your values. We are now asking you to vote NO on Prop 101, because it is a really bad idea.
"The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act" purports to offer more "choice" of health insurance to Arizonans, when, in fact, it would prevent us from being able to choose from a number of options that are available, and are being tried and proven elsewhere. Why would anyone propose that we close the door before we know what works and what doesn't?
There are now over 1 million Arizonans without health insurance-- 1/5 of our state population. This affects us all, by raising health costs for untreated illnesses, at the time when treatment is the most effective, and least expensive. The problem is getting worse, as insurance rates soar. This cannot go on. Let's leave our options open, to borrow approaches used by other states, and even other countries, to hold down costs and improve access to care!
This initiative has the deceptive appearance of giving you more choices, but, really, it is about limiting our choices. We all know that this state is in a crisis about folks not being able to get health insurance, and about individuals being thrown off their plans, and businesses no longer being able to offer insurance. Half the people in bankruptcy are there because of healthcare costs, and a lot of them had insurance that they had paid into, for years, but the coverage got smaller and the premiums larger, and the bills came in.
The only "choice" a lot of folks have, increasingly, is to have no insurance, or less-than-adequare insurance, and to hope and pray for good health. Well, our faith traditions tell us that we are supposed to be about healing each other, and today that means helping each other figure out how to access the miracles of modern medicine. It means a community response, well thought out, and with everybody participating and everybody benefiting. A response chosen by the people, together.
But this initiative turns our state constitution into a roadblock, a barrier to options we might like to consider, in these next few years, while we are working, together, to get it right. Let's decide what YES looks like, before we let special interests start putting NO in cement.
The people who govern us have diddled around, scared by lobbyists and special interests, and have given us a two tiered healthcare system: a decent one for lawmakers, and for folks for whom money is no concern, and a third-world healthcare system for the rest of us. In measure after measure of healthcare decency, we score, not first in the world, but sixteenth, or twenty-third, or eighth, or seventy-ninth. Long waits in other countries, for nonemergency care? Long waits here, if you've looked lately. And then the insurance, that you've paid into all your life, raises rates, raises co-pays, or doesn't pay at all.
The solution has to be an American one, because this is who we are. But to find the solution, we have to get past the myths, and look at the reality. We need to understand why our healthcare system is the most expensive in the world, yet delivers so much less than it should. Did you know that a full third of the money spent on healthcare in this country goes to bureaucratic "management," ie, the insurance industry? Did you know that our much-touted pharmaceutical industry spends more on advertising than on research? There are some big mistakes being made here, and nobody is willing to look it over, and rein it in.
"Choice" is not simply about individuals choosing between lousy options-- it is about voters choosing to create better options to choose from. You can learn more about this measure, and about other initiatives, on the AzGP website, at www.azgp.org
As pediatricians, we think that Arizona residents should be able to choose among a wide variety of health care reform proposals to decrease the number of Arizona children who lack health insurance. There are currently over one million Arizona residents who are uninsured, including over 250,000 children. Lack of health insurance hurts all of us by increasing the use of emergency departments, decreasing preventive care services which increase the risk of communicable disease, and cost shifting of the expenses incurred by the uninsured on the insured population.
This measure would prevent us from adopting many of the proposed health care reform measures currently under consideration at both the local and national level to address the increasing numbers of uninsured. We need to have every potential option for health care reform available for Arizona's children and their families. We also do not want to see loopholes created in our Arizona constitution which would allow insurance companies to deny health insurance coverage for any reason.
We must defeat this measure so that all options for increasing insurance coverage for Arizona children are available. Therefore, Arizona's pediatricians urge you to vote no on PROP 101, the Medical Choice for Arizona or Freedom to Choose Act.
WESTMARC is a regional coalition of business, government, and education that advocates for good public policy. As a partnership between business and government, it is paramount that we thoroughly consider public policy issues and work collaboratively toward public policy that is good for our West Valley region and our state.
WESTMARC believes in our freedoms and appreciates our choices in a free market. However a change of this potential magnitude without the benefit of clear and open public discussion is not the way we should develop and or change public policy.
This measure is not about guaranteeing choice. It's about making sure Arizonans are required to channel our health care dollars into the pockets of big insurance companies and the for-profit health care industry. Make no mistake, the backers of this measure view health care like any other business that must generate increasing revenues for its shareholders. Private insurers spend billions of dollars a year on marketing and advertising. Their top executives take home multi-million dollar salaries. They deliver handsome profits to their shareholders. And they employ staff whose primary job is to deny claims or otherwise make it difficult for patients to access the coverage for which they pay their monthly premiums. As a result, administrative costs in the private health insurance industry are four to ten times as high as those of government backed health care plans like Medicare.
If this initiative were to pass, Arizonans would be barred from ever choosing a government backed universal health care plan that would make sure every Arizonan was covered, regardless of pre-existing conditions or ability to pay. Proposition 101 is protectionism for the health care industry. They want to be protected from competition so that they can continue to increase profits on the backs of hard-working Arizonans. We think the health care industry is already making plenty of money. We urge voters to reject this deceptively named measure and Vote No on Proposition 101.
Don't be fooled by the so-called Freedom of Choice in Healthcare Act. This is not about the freedom of consumers to "choose" their own healthcare but is designed to guarantee insurance companies and doctors the freedom to continue making windfall profits at our expense. Passage of Prop 101 will constitutionally prevent the Legislature or the voters from instituting healthcare solutions that limit costs or guarantee treatment.
If you're happy with the state of our current healthcare system, if you think you are getting good service at fair prices, if you think that having thousands of uninsured children is acceptable, if you think that denial of coverage for serious medical conditions is fair, this is the proposition for you. This measure ensures the continuation of the status quo, with ever increasing prices and ever decreasing quality of service.
I oppose PROP 101' the "Medical Choice" Initiative, because it Could restrict the ability of the state to reasonably limit abortion and other medical services in appropriate circumstances. The initiative says, "No law shall interfere with a person's or an entity's right to pay directly for lawful medical services." Abortion is a lawful medical service, yet the state currently has the ability to limit it in certain circumstances. Under this initiative, the state Could lose that ability. That means that the state could not, for example, as it has in the past, prohibit insurance coverage for abortion in certain reasonable situations. Currently, the state forbids the use of taxpayer money for abortions for minors in foster care and, in many cases, for those receiving welfare benefits (AHCCCS). Even beyond the abortion issue, this initative has red flags. Consider what an "entity" might be. An insurance company? A school district? A community center? A state agency? This vague, wide-open, unrestricted initiative has no exclusions and no boundaries. It needs a lot more scrutiny than it has received. Please vote NO on PROP 101.
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