Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

Cathi Herrod, Goldwater Institute, & AZ Taxpayer PAC Spread Medicaid Lies on Twitter

While following the ongoing #HobbyLobby Twitter storm recently, I bumped into several Tweets by the Arizona Taxpayer Action Committee. (I have no idea how things like this get into my Twitter feed.) What caught my eye was that Goldwater Institute and Center for Arizona Policy documents were linked to the Tweets and former Arizona Legislator and Medicaid-expansion denier Frank Antenori (@FrankAntenori), @SonoranAlliance (Blog for Arizona’s evil right-wing twin), and @GodCountryFam reTweeted all of these.

AZTaxpayerAct2:54pm via Twitter Web Client

If you’re an Arizona legislator & voted for Medicaid expansion in 2013, you voted to allow tax $’s for abortion: blog.azpolicy.org/life/medicaid-…

Retweeted by FrankAntenori and 1 others

AZTaxpayerAct3:04pm via Twitter Web Client

If you voted for Obamacare Medicaid Expansion you voted for corporate cronyism for the healthcare industrial complex goldwaterinstitute.org/blog/medicaid-…

Retweeted by FrankAntenori and 1 others

AZTaxpayerAct3:11pm via Twitter Web Client

AZ legislators were warned against voting for Obamacare Medicaid but chose to listen to big money from the healthcare industrial complex.

Retweeted by FrankAntenori and 1 others

AZTaxpayerAct3:09pm via Twitter Web Client

AZ legislators who voted for Obamacare Medicaid Expansion voted for tax hike as high as $739 Million over 2014-2019: goldwaterinstitute.org/10-reasons-to-…

Retweeted by FrankAntenori and 1 others

Alright, they made me look…

These Tweets by Arizona Taxpayer Action PAC, the Goldwater Institute, and the Center for Arizona Policy contain a few ironies, a few lies, and several right-wing dog whistle buzzwords.

Irony 1: Voting for Medicaid Expansion is voting for “Corporate Cronyism.”

Isn’t corporate cronyism what Republicans are all about? Voting to benefit big business is their thing! The Goldwater Institute says that Medicaid expansion is a bad idea because it will “line the pockets” of hospitals. You’ll remember that hospitals are businesses, and they have been taking it in the shorts with uncompensated care for years. Since when does the Goldwater Institute promote the idea that making money is a bad thing? Goldwater wants hospitals to continue to work for  free.

Irony #2: Legislators who voted for Medicaid were listening to “big money” from the healthcare industrial complex.

This Tweet has no link, so there is no background data to back up this claim. Again, it’s ironic to me that a political action committee (Arizona Taxpayer Action) would complain about Republicans taking “big money”, since that is what PACs and politicians are all about– the give and take of “big money” and votes.

Lie #1: Because of Medicaid expansion, tax dollars will fund abortion. 

That’s a real whopper. The attached document from Cathy “SB1062” Herrod’s Center for Arizona Policy doesn’t really say that Medicaid will fund abortions, but it does scare people into thinking that clinics that also do abortions shouldn’t get money for providing other services– like PAP smears, pregnancy tests, prenatal care, and other women’s health services. You’ll remember that the Arizona Legislature tried to defund Planned Parenthood’s women’s health services because a small percentage of Planned Parenthood’s business is performing abortions. The 9th Circuit Court struck down that law, but obviously the anti-Medicaid crowd is not beyond twisting a few facts to get some social media traffic on Twitter. Again, why shouldn’t businesses get paid for the services they provide?

Lie #2: Legislators who voted for Medicaid expansion voted to raise your taxes $739 million. 

This lie is linked to a Goldwater Institute document that is chock full of conjecture and “what ifs”. When Governor Jan Brewer signed the Medicaid Expansion bill a year ago, she expanded low-income medical coverage to 350,000 Arizonans. Many believe she did it not because she suddenly became compassionate for the poor, but because Medicaid expansion makes good economic sense. The state estimated $1.6 billion would come to Arizona in the first year to fund Medicaid.

Right-Wing Dog Whistle Phrases in These Tweets:

Obamacare, abortion, cronyism, taxes, Medicaid

Why Is the Right Fighting so Hard to Deny Medical Care to the Poor?

We all know from the Brewer Death Panel public relations disaster a few years ago that people can actually die from lack of medical care. (Can someone tip off the Goldwater Institute, Center for Arizona Policy, the Arizona Taxpayer Action PAC, Frank Antenori, and the Sonoran Alliance about this?) Brewer got a lot of bad press when she and the Legislature slashed AHCCCS. Thousands of patients were denied medical care. Transplant patients died because of Republican policy. This will happen in the red states that have chosen to NOT expand Medicaid. They have created a public health disaster.

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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