Arizona organizations urge Senate to say no to new healthcare bill

Leaders of several Arizona organizations, including AARP and Planned Parenthood, oppose a Senate bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. (Photo by Kevin Cusack/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – Arizona leaders of an array of organizations, ranging from AARP to Planned Parenthood, joined a chorus opposed to a Senate health care plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

A news conference Tuesday at Chicanos Por La Causa drew attention to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that the proposed plan would reduce the federal deficit faster than a House-proposed bill but cost 22 million people health care coverage.
They asked Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake to combat the bill, known as the American Health Care Act. Their plea came hours after Republican leader Mitch McConnell decided to delay discussion of the bill until senators return from July 4th recess.

President Donald Trump met with senators Tuesday evening to discuss the controversial bill. Republicans are divided over the proposal, with some saying it doesn’t go far enough and others saying it cuts too much.

Republicans want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, as too expensive for taxpayers and hostile to insurance companies. McCain and others have said Obamacare amounts to federal overreach.

At Tuesday’s conference in Arizona, representatives of organizations opposed to the measure included Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, Organizing for Action, Lucha Arizona and AARP.

People living with HIV would be greatly affected, said Jonathan Brier, with the Aunt Rita’s Foundation. He said cutting certain services proposed under the bill would be a death sentence.

Avondale Councilman Lorenzo Sierra said there is a face behind every fact uttered about health care in the U.S. His mother is one of them.

Sierra’s mother died five years ago of cancer, two months after she was diagnosed. She worked at a minimum-wage job that did not provide her with health insurance, Sierra said.

“My mother had always been there for the state of Arizona and the United States in terms of being a workforce member,” Sierra said. “When it came her time, America wasn’t there for her, Arizona wasn’t there for her. This bill won’t be there for the millions and millions of people that are going to need it, like my mother.”