Mark Barabak, a reporter for the LA Times, has paid close attention to Arizona since the Great Recession and his article posted in today’s LA Times provides keen insight into the dilemma facing our Senator Jeff Flake. Barabak traveled to the Senator’s family’s home town in Navajo County to listen to rural Arizonans and their views of the Senate Health Care proposal. Barabak also spoke to Ron McArthur, the head of Summit Healthcare whose offices are located in Show Low, Arizona. Mr. McArthur knows well what will happen to rural Arizona hospitals and health care systems if the current bill passes.
If you care to see more of Mr. McArthur’s comments, you can read a piece he co-authored with Greg Vigdor, President of the Arizona Hospital and Health Care Association, and Steve Purves, the CEO of the Maricopa Integrated Health Care System, in today’s Arizona Republic.
From my perspective, the current Senate bill and the House version are merely political answers to a serious policy discussion: how can the richest country in the world provide sustainable and affordable health care to our most disadvantaged populations without turning our country’s back on them? After all, it is not like these populations just disappear if the legislation doesn’t address the problem – people will just get sicker and show up in emergency rooms where care is more expensive and less effective.