ARIZONA'S STATE-FUNDED HEALTH PROGRAM: NO END OR RESULTS IN SIGHT

May 23, 2008

From 2000 to 2008, spending by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) -- Arizona's state-funded health program for low-income families -- is expected to nearly triple.  For all that spending, some progress in increasing the percentage of Arizonans with health insurance should have been accomplished, however, increased government health spending isn't translating into fewer uninsured people, says the Goldwater Institute.

For example:

  • The percentage of all Arizonans without health insurance actually increased from 16 percent in 2000 to 20.9 percent in 2006 (the latest data available).
  • Since 2000, the uninsured rate has risen by 31 percent; this happened during a period of rapid budget increases for AHCCCS.
  • Some 49 percent of Arizona's adults with incomes under the federal poverty level are uninsured, despite being eligible for the open-ended Medicaid program.

Even after spending is adjusted for population increases and inflation, statistics demonstrate an increase in spending of 46 percent from 2000 to 2006.  Advocates for government health spending have made health insurance coverage their measure of success, but with numbers like these, it's better characterized as a measure of failure.  Policymakers should make health insurance more affordable at the state level by eliminating coverage mandates and letting people buy insurance across state lines, says the Institute.

Source: Byron Schlomach, "More Spending on AHCCCS, With No End Or Results In Sight," Goldwater Institute, May 22, 2008.

 

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