As it has happened in other states across the country, we expect those politicians that are against Medicaid expansion for ideological reasons to change their mind if there is sufficient pressure by their constituents. Besides medical coverage for hundreds of thousands of uninsured, accepting federal money for the expansion will bring clear economic benefits.
In Arizona, the State Legislature started their 2013 session in mid-January. Governor Brewer embraced Medicaid expansion during her state of the state address, but we know that many members of the legislature disagree with her. With the decision impacting many of the people served by SVdP, Voice of the Poor members from Phoenix and Tucson visited their legislators, during two consecutive “Days at the Capitol” organized by the Arizona Interfaith Network, of which many of our parishes are members.
Voice of the Poor is coordinating nationwide its advocacy efforts towards Medicaid expansion with Network, the National Catholic Social Justice lobby (nuns on the bus). As an example, Network issued an Action Alert to all their contacts in Arizona to coincide with our last legislative visits in Phoenix. Cooperation among likeminded organization is really important when we embark in such difficult efforts.
We just heard that in Arizona the Medicaid expansion fight is now gearing up. There is apparently a counter-attack by the far-right, which will require further action on our side.