John McCain and Jeff Flake are now on the health-care hot seat

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Senate Republicans have unveiled their latest health care legislation, which aims to repeal and replace Obamacare. As expected, both side voiced bold and passionate reactions to the measure.
USA TODAY

Laurie Roberts: Will Arizona’s senators go along with a plan that could kick up to 400,000 Arizonans to the health-care curb?

All Arizona eyes turn now to Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake.

Will they or won’t they go along with the Senate’s plan to make America’s health-care system great again?

Will they or won’t they stick it to the poor and to older Americans, with deep cuts to Medicaid and higher premiums once you reach a certain age?

Will they or won’t they stick it hospitals by leaving them (read: ultimately us) to pick up the tab for legions of newly uninsured Arizonans?

Will they or won’t they cut taxes for more affluent Americans and insurance companies? Or, or as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put it, “eliminate costly Obamacare taxes that are passed on to consumers, so we can put downward pressure on premiums.”

Senate bill is better, but it’ll still hurt

Downward pressure on premiums? Sure, that’ll happen. Good one, Mitch.

Overall, the Senate bill, released Thursday after having been hammered out in secret, may be more moderate in some areas than the House dog that proposed kicking 23 million people to the health-care curb.

The Senate bill includes subsidies to help lower-income Americans pay for private insurance though fewer middle-class Americans would qualify.

But deep cuts to Medicaid will leave millions of people – and the nation’s hospitals – in a world of hurt. Literally.

McConnell said the plan would “shift power from Washington to the states, so they have more flexibility to provide more Americans with the kind of affordable insurance options they actually want.”

Arizona won’t pony up for Medicaid

Who is this guy kidding? Where does he think a state like Arizona would find the money needed to fund all these affordable options when Medicaid expansion goes away? When federal “block grants”, with a slowed inflation factor, inevitably fall short in covering what’s left of the health-care plan for the poor? 

In Arizona, just over 400,000 people were able to get health insurance as a result of Medicaid expansion, including 317,000 childless adults who live below the federal poverty line. Another 82,000 who qualified for Medicaid expansion earn between 100 percent and 138 percent of the poverty level. For a family of four, that equates to $33,600 a year.

MONTINI: Will Senate’s secret health-care reform kill you?

How many of them will be able to afford insurance even with a subsidy?

And, by the way, about 47,000 of those 400,000 have drug addictions and can now get treatment through Medicaid, here in a state where the governor recently declared opioid addiction a statewide health emergency.

How many of them will be able to afford treatment when they lose their insurance?

What will it be, senators?

McCain and Flake were shut out of the super-secret talks that led to the Senate’s proposal. Both have been critical of the process. This plan is not on them … yet.

Both now have a decision to make.

“We need to come out with what we stand for, what we believe in and how we’re going to implement it,” McCain told Fox News on Wednesday.

Well senators, is this – tax cuts for the affluent financed by deep cuts to the poor — what you stand for?

MORE FROM ROBERTS:

Corporation Commission sides with APS (again)

How Arizona can still give dreamers a tuition discount

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John McCain and Jeff Flake are now on the health-care hot seat

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