Friday, June 15, 2007

Deeper introspection of the AHCCCS issue

Sonoran Alliance has a post decrying the AHCCCS announcement that 52% of all Arizona births are now covered under the program. Most of the coverage I have seen both in the local blogs and on local talk radio have been very critical of this. There are, however, a few things that this blanket condemnation does not account for.

As someone who owns my own business, I have to provide my own health insurance, and I pay through the nose for it. There are many others in my shoes who do the same, and we make it work despite the sacrifice. Did you know that just about all of the insurance options open to those like me do not cover maternity? If I want to self insure, and have children I have exactly one option, University Physicians HealthCare Group of Arizona. That's it, like it or lump it.

My understanding of the program is not what it should be but I believe that University Physicians HealthCare Group is a subsection of HealthCare Group of Arizona which in turn is counted under AHCCCS enrollment. In other words, I am paying top dollar for an AHCCCS type program.

I do this because I have no other options. The insurance itself outside of Maternity benefits is atrocious. They probably spend more on certified letters telling me what they aren't going to cover than what they actually pay for. I'm also going to leave the silly legislatively mandated "bare period" alone for now as well.

That said, I can see why somebody in my situation may do what they could to qualify for AHCCCS, as there are very few options for maternity-covered insurance available.

I haven't delved far enough into the issue to offer any solutions, and it could very well be the case that the easy availability of AHCCCS is what is causing the dearth of other options. Until a method of providing said options becomes available, however, this issue is far from black and white.

Additionally, if any type of Universal Health Care becomes mandated, which I steadfastly oppose by the way, maternity coverage would be the easiest part to swallow. A healthy birthrate is vital to the needs and future of the country. We already fund childbirth through the Child Tax Credits which, last I checked, are something we fight for as Republicans. More children, being born healthy, is a fundamentally pro-life position as well. I can imagine that leaving no financial means for a family to pay for an unexpected addition could possibly lead to more abortions.

And finally, according to the site I linked above, HealthCare Group of Arizona looks to be linked to AHCCCS statistics. If this is the case, then the 52% is completely overstated. That would mean that baby Framer due in December would count under the 52%. I, and my pocketbook, can assure you that we are getting no free ride.


Liza said...

From that same article:

"Study after study has shown that every $1 spent on prenatal care saves $3 or more in newborn intensive-care costs and other expenses tied to mother and baby health problems that could have been prevented."

It's my understanding that a family of four qualifies for these benefits if their income is $40,000 or less. A single woman qualifies if her income is $18,200 or less. People at these income levels cannot afford health insurance nor can they afford prenatal care. They probably can't afford much beyond the very basic necessities of life and they have trouble paying for those.

Anyhow, where are all you good Christian right wing Republicans? These are babies we're talking about here.

Liza said...

The article I'm referring to above was in Sunday's AZ Daily Star.

Framer said...


I thought I was pretty clear that I came down on the side of the babies and the families having them, especially those who are on the cusp of elegiability, at least as far as maternity is concerned.

I know plenty families of four at 40,000 with insurance, individual or linked through their company. There does come a point where it is nice to have choices, however, and currently if you are self insured, and you want to have children in Tucson, there's not a lot out there for you. I would hope that this could be addressed, even if it needs to happen outside of the normal Healthcare discussion.

I would suspect that moving to "Single Payer" would include many of the features of HealthCare Group which I detest outside of Maternity benefits. There are plenty of others who have made that mistake for us so that we don't have to.

Anonymous said...

How about exercising the choice not to have children if you can't afford them? I had one, realized I could not afford another and took action to ensure I didn't. Now I am too old but have the money. Such is life.

GOP Boomer Gal said...

The biggest problem as I see it is that there are way too many mandates by state and fed. governments that have driven up the cost of insurance; not to mention the unpaid bills of illegals that we get to pick up; not to mention the John Edwards of the worle that have driven doctors out of delivering babies.

Framer, talk to Dr. Dale and Dr. Jane Orient. We need a health care town hall to come up with better options.

Havins said all that, I wish you and your family the best. Hope the baby is as cute as his (or her) Dad.

Liza said...

Yes, I understand that you are supportive of babies. I read your link to Sonoran Alliance and wished to point out an important yet overlooked statement in the original Star article. In fact, from my perspective, this statement should end the debate.

GOP Boomer Gal said...

But first you have to trust the studies. I don't, and I work in a NICU. People that don't get prenatal care are the drug users and they shouldn't be allowed to breed, but there are laws against forced sterilization, so who suffers?

The babies, that's right.

Sirocco said...

That's a pretty broad generalization there gbg, can you provide some evidence to support it please?

I agree drug users are going to make a large percentage, likely a majority, of those mothers who don't receive prenatal care, but my suspicion is there are a fairly significant number who aren't drug-users who also don't receive such care.