Rep. Raul Grijalva on Healthcare

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Congressman Raul Grijalva is holding health care town halls across the state over the next few days. We’ll talk with him about efforts to change The Affordable Care Act.

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VIDEO: COMING UP NEXT ON ARIZONA

TED SIMONS: COMING UP NEXT ON ARIZONA HORIZON, WE'LL SPEAK WITH CONGRESSMAN RAUL GRIJALVA ABOUT EFFORTS TO REPEAL THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AND HIS THOUGHTS ON PRESIDENT TRUMP. ALSO TONIGHT, MARICOPA COUNTY RECORDER ADRIAN FONTES JOINS US TO TALK ABOUT THE COUNTY'S NEW VOTING SYSTEM. AND WE'LL SOLVE THE MYSTERY BEHIND A DOWNTOWN MURAL. THOSE STORIES NEXT, ON "ARIZONA HORIZON." ARIZONA "HORIZON" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF ARIZONA PBS, MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.

TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO ARIZONA HORIZON. I'M TED SIMONS. A JUDGE HEARD CLOSING ARGUMENTS TODAY IN THE CRIMINAL TRIAL OF FORMER SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO. FEDERAL PROSECUTORS USED ARPAIO'S OWN WORDS TO ARGUE THAT THE FORMER SHERIFF INTENTIONALLY DEFIED A COURT ORDER TO STOP RACIALLY-PROFILED IMMIGRATION PATROLS. THE DEFENSE COUNTERED BY BLAMING ARPAIO'S FORMER ATTORNEY FOR NOT EXPLAINING THE ORDER CLEARLY AND SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES FOR NOT FOLLOWING THE ORDER AS DIRECTED. THIS WAS THE FINAL DAY OF THE TRIAL. ARPAIOI'S FACING A MISDEMEANOR CHARGE FOR ALLOWING THE PATROLS TO CONTINUE. SEVERAL PROTESTORS OPPOSED TO THE SENATE'S HEALTH-CARE BILL WERE ARRESTED TODAY OUTSIDE SENATOR JEFF FLAKE'S PHOENIX AND TUCSON OFFICES. IT WAS THE 2ND DAY OF DEMONSTRATIONS, WITH PROTESTORS ATTEMPTING TO CONVINCE FLAKE TO VOTE NO ON THE SENATE BILL. 5-PROTESTERS WERE CITED FOR TRESPASSING DURING YESTERDAY'S DEMONSTRATION, WITH SEVERAL PROTESTORS ARRESTED TODAY AFTER BLOCKING ONE OF THE ENTRANCES TO THE OFFICE BUILDING. SENATOR FLAKE RELEASED A STATEMENT AFTER YESTERDAY'S DEMONSTRATION SAYING THAT HE HAD NOT SEEN A REVISED VERSION OF THE HEALTH-CARE BILL BUT WILL MAKE HIS DECISION BASED IN PART ON WHETHER OR NOT THE BILL, QUOTE, "ENSURES THAT THOSE WHO CURRENTLY HAVE COVERAGE DO NOT HAVE THE RUG PULLED OUT FROM UNDER THEM".

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TED SIMONS: AND ARIZONA CONGRESSWOMAN MARTHA MCSALLY SAYS THAT "SHE'S" UNDECIDED ON THE HEALTH-CARE BILL AS IT CURRENTLY STANDS. MCSALLY TALKED TODAY ABOUT WHAT SHE'S LOOKING FOR IN HEALTH-CARE REFORM.

MARTHA MCSALLY: THERE IS A STATE LEVEL OF WANTING TO MANAGE THINGS MORE LOCAL AT A STATE LEVEL INSTEAD OF FEDERAL BUREAUCRATS COMING UP WITH A ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL SOLUTION FOR A LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS BUT WHAT WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE DON'T DO IS SHIFT RESPONSIBILITY TO THE STATE WITHOUT SHIFTING THE RESOURCES AND FLEXIBILITY TO THE STATE. WE ARE MAKING SURE THE VULNERABLE AND THOSE THAT NEED A SAFETY NET HAVE THAT AND THE TRANSITION TO COMPLEX ISSUES TAKES A LONG PERIOD OF TIME SO STATES ARE ABLE TO PICK UP AND MANAGE THESE PROGRAMS THAT NORMALLY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAD BEEN MANAGING, THAT THE OFF RAMP IS SLOW AND SIGNIFICANTLY LONG, AND THAT WE MAKE SURE WE DON'T LEAVE ANYBODY OUT. THAT HAS BEEN MY FOCUS TRYING TO BE CONSTRUCTIVE IN THESE CONVERSATIONS.

TED SIMONS: CONGRESSWOMAN MCSALLY IS NOT THE ONLY ARIZONA CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE TALKING ABOUT THE HEALTHCARE BILL. CONGRESSMAN RAUL GRIJALVA IS HOLDING TOWN HALLS ACROSS THE STATE OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS. WE SPOKE WITH THE CONGRESSMAN ABOUT EFFORTS TO CHANGE THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. CONGRESSMAN GRIJALVA, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE SENATE HEALTH CARE BILL?

RAUL GRIJALVA: FIRST, IT WAS DONE IN SECRET. 13 SENATORS, ALL REPUBLICANS, NO BIPARTISAN INPUT. THE HOUSE BILL WAS REJECTED BY THE SENATORS. THEY DECIDED TO CRAFT THEIR OWN PIECE OF LEGISLATION AND IT TURNS OUT IT IS JUST AS BAD, IF NOT WORSE, ACCORDING TO INITIAL CBO SCORES AND INDEPENDENT ANALYSIS OF IT IN TERMS OF THE DAMAGE IT WILL DO TO MEDICAID AND MEDICARE RECIPIENTS AND THE DAMAGE TO INCREASING THE NUMBER OF UNINSURED AND THE COST IN PREMIUMS AND COPAYS GOING UP FOR EVERYONE PARTICULARLY MIDDLE CLASS AND PEOPLE 50-64 AND THE ALMOST $1 TRILLION CUT FROM MEDICAID THAT IS SHIFTED INTO TAX REDUCTION FOR THE WEALTHIEST IN THE COUNTRY. THOSE ARE ALREADY PART OF THE PUBLIC DISCOURSE. SO, NOW SEEING THE REACTION FROM THE PUBLIC WHICH IS OVERWHELMING IN OPPOSITION TO THIS LEGISLATION, THEY ARE NOW INTO A NEW PHASE WHICH IS REPEAL AND DELAY. NO ONE QUITE KNOWING WHAT THAT MEANS WHICH I THINK IS EVEN WORSE BOTH POLITICALLY AND FOR PEOPLE THAT ARE RELYING ON WHAT THE ACA DID IN TERMS OF HEALTH CARE ACCESSIBILITY, EVEN WORSE FOR THEM AS WELL. SO, THE SENATE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT IT IS GOING TO DO. THEY ARE ON THEIR OWN TIME LINE. THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO DO IT JULY 4TH. NOW WE ARE GOING BACK ON MONDAY AND QUITE HONESTLY TO SEE WHAT SURPRISE WE WILL GET FROM THE SENATE. BUT AT THIS POINT, YOU KNOW, THE WHEELS HAVE COME OFF AND I DON'T SEE POLITICALLY WHAT THE PATH FORWARD IS. REPEAL AND DELAY AFTER THE MANTRA WAS REPEAL AND REPLACE BOTH IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE I THINK IS EVEN MORE PROBLEMS.

TED SIMONS: THE IMPACT, THOUGH, FROM THE SENATE AND/OR THE HOUSE BILL, THE IMPACT ON SOUTHERN ARIZONA HOSPITALS.

RAUL GRIJALVA: WE WILL GO BACK TO BEFORE ACA DAYS PARTICULARLY IN THE REDUCTIONS WE WILL SEE IN MEDICAID IN TERMS OF THE EXPANSION, THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION THREATENING IN TERMS OF HOW THEY ARE GOING TO DOLE OUT THAT EXPANSION MONEY TO STATES LIKE ARIZONA THAT DID CREATE THE EXPANSION FOR MEDICAID AND CREATE A NEW ELIGIBILITY FOR 400,000 PEOPLE. WHAT IT IS GOING TO DO TO HOSPITALS AND HEALTH CARE DELIVERY SYSTEMS ACROSS SOUTHERN ARIZONA AND THE STATE AS A WHOLE IS THIS. WE ARE GOING TO GO BACK TO THE UNCOMPENSATED CARE WHERE PEOPLE'S ONLY ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE IS TO GO TO THE EMERGENCY AND BY LAW BE SEEN AND TREATED.

TED SIMONS: THE REPUBLICANS ARE SAYING THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IS A DISASTER AND ONLY GETTING WORSE THEY ARE SAYING IT IS A GOOD DEAL FOR THOSE WHO ARE HEAVILY SUBSIDIZED AND THOSE WHO ARE SERIOUSLY SICK BUT A BAD DEAL FOR ALL OTHERS. HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT?

RAUL GRIJALVA: THIS WHOLE DEATH SPIRAL, THE SYSTEM IS COLLAPSING ON TOP OF EVERYTHING, NEGATES THE POINT THAT IT HAS BEEN GOOD ECONOMICALLY. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT 1/6TH OF THE ECONOMY OF THIS NATION THAT HAS HEALTH CARE DELIVERY AND HEALTH CARE IN GENERAL AND HOW I RESPOND TO THAT IS THAT THE BURDEN SHIFTS, PREMIUMS GO UP FOR THOSE WHO DO PAY FOR INSURANCE BECAUSE OTHERS CAN'T. SO THE SUBSIDIES HAVE BEEN HELPFUL IN ALLOWING MIDDLE CLASS AND THOSE THAT ARE INSPIRING TO BE MIDDLE CLASS FOLKS TO BE ABLE TO ACCESS HEALTH CARE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THEIR LIVES. THAT HAS BEEN AN OVERALL REDUCTION IN THE BURDEN FOR OTHER TAXPAYERS. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY THE FACT THAT THIS UNCERTAINTY FOR THE LAST NINE MONTHS OF NOT KNOWING WHERE WE ARE GOING TO BE WITH THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT HAS CREATED THE PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANIES TO FLEE THE MARKETPLACE BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO HAVE CERTAINTY IN TERMS OF WHAT THEY DO. THAT IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST CAUSES OF WHY WE HAVE THIS SITUATION. THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO FIX OBAMACARE. I AM NOT ONE THAT PREACHES THERE IS PERFECTION IN OBAMACARE. THERE ARE THINGS THAT CAN BE DONE TO MAKE IT MORE EFFICIENT, MAKE IT MORE COST EFFECTIVE, PLACE BETTER CONTROLS OVER THE RISING PREMIUMS AND THE COST OF PHARMACEUTICALS AND WE CAN DO THAT. BUT THAT IS A BIPARTISAN DISCUSSION THAT NEEDS TO OCCUR. THAT HAS NOT OCCURRED, AND SO WHEN WE ARE FACED WITH ONLY ONE CHOICE, WHICH IS RIGHT NOW THE SENATE BILL, OR ONLY REPEAL, THEN OBVIOUSLY OUR OPPOSITION IS GOING TO BE STRONG BECAUSE THE CONSEQUENCES TO REAL PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE HUGE AND THE CONSEQUENCES TO THE ECONOMY IS GOING TO BE HUGE AND IN RURAL AREAS, AND PLACES IN SOUTHERN ARIZONA, AND ALL OVER THE STATE, THE DEVASTATION IT WILL CREATE TO HEALTH DELIVERY SYSTEMS IS GOING TO BE VERY REAL.

TED SIMONS: LAST QUESTION. SOME DEMOCRATS ARE LOOKING AT THE 25TH AMENDMENT AS SOMETHING THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED. THE 25TH AMENDMENT QUESTIONING THE MENTAL AND PHYSICAL FITNESS OF A PRESIDENT. DO YOU BELIEVE THIS PRESIDENT IS FIT FOR OFFICE?

RAUL GRIJALVA: I DON'T BELIEVE HE IS FIT FOR OFFICE IN TERMS OF THE POLICIES AND IN TERMS OF THE PREPARATION AND I SAID THAT AT THE BEGINNING AND THE CAPACITY TO DEAL WITH THIS JOB. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT PHYSICAL AND MENTAL ISSUES. THAT IS A WHOLE ANOTHER ARENA. I THINK THE ADMINISTRATION IS UNHINGED, THAT'S FOR SURE, AND THEY ARE UNHINGED BECAUSE OF EVERYTHING SWIRLING AROUND THEM. THE TWEETS FROM THE PRESIDENT THAT CONTINUE TO AGGRAVATE AND CREATE MORE DIVISION IN THE COUNTRY, THE FACT WE ARE INVOLVED IN THREE INVESTIGATIONS IN TERMS OF THE RUSSIAN LINKS AFFECTING THE ADMINISTRATION AND THE DEMOCRACY IN THE LAST ELECTION, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY THE LACK OF ANY LEGISLATIVE AGENDA FROM THIS PRESIDENT. I SAID AT THE BEGINNING WHEN HE WAS INAUGURATED THAT I FELT HE LACKED THE CAPACITY TO BE PRESIDENT AND THE CAPACITY IS DOING YOUR JOB. THE ISSUES OF THE 25TH AMENDMENT HIS PHYSICAL AND MENTAL ABILITY TO DO THE JOB, YOU KNOW, I DON'T HAVE THE EXPERTISE TO BE ABLE TO DWELL INTO THAT AND ANALYZE BUT THE FACT REMAINS IN TERMS OF UP TO NOW PERFORMANCE AND THE STATE THAT WE FIND OURSELVES IN IN TERMS OF WHERE OUR COUNTRY IS AND WHERE OUR GOVERNMENT IS AT A NATIONAL LEVEL, FITNESS, ON A POLITICAL SENSE, IS CERTAINLY NOT THERE.

TED SIMONS: WHAT CAN DEMOCRATS DO CONSIDERING THE DIVISIVE NATURE OF WHAT IS GOING ON IN WASHINGTON? WHAT CAN DEMOCRATS DO TO IMPROVE THAT SITUATION AND TO JUST GIVE PEOPLE A SENSE OF CERTAINTY, A SENSE OF BALANCE? IT JUST FEELS LIKE THINGS ARE OFF THE RAILS IN A VARIETY OF DIRECTIONS.

RAUL GRIJALVA: EXACTLY. AND A GREAT QUESTION, TED. I THINK ONE THING THE DEMOCRATS CAN'T DO IS SPEND TOO MUCH TIME INTELLECTUALIZING WHAT IS GOING ON OR SPEND TOO MUCH TIME WRINGING OUR HANDS ABOUT WE CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. THERE IS AN ELECTION COMING UP IN 2018 WHICH WILL DICTATE VERY MUCH WHERE THE DIRECTION THIS GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO TAKE AND THIS CURRENT ELECTION IS ONE OF THE MOST CRITICAL THAT HAVE HAPPENED IN THIS COUNTRY IN A LONG, LONG TIME. I THINK DEMOCRATS HAVE TO BE PLAINSPOKEN INSTEAD OF WORRYING TOO MUCH ABOUT ANALYZING WHAT PEOPLE ARE THINKING LET'S TALK DIRECTLY TO PEOPLE AND PLAIN SPOKEN IN TERMS OF PROVIDING ALTERNATIVES AND CONTRAST TO WHAT THIS ADMINISTRATION AND THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY OF CONGRESS ARE DOING. ON THE ECONOMIC FRONT, ON THE HEALTH FRONT, ON THE EDUCATION FRONT, AND ON THE INVESTMENT FRONT, THOSE ARE ISSUES THAT I THINK THE VOTERS WILL RESPOND TO. WE CAN'T JUST SIMPLY RUN BECAUSE TRUMP IS AS BAD AS HE IS. WE HAVE TO RUN WITH AN ALTERNATIVE PLAN THAT PEOPLE CAN GET BEHIND AND I THINK THAT IS THE LABOR AHEAD. DEMOCRATS CANNOT SIMPLY RELY ON THE ILL WILL TOWARD TRUMP TO WIN AN ELECTION. WE HAVE TO WIN THAT ELECTION ON ISSUES AND ON THE CONTRAST AND THE ALTERNATIVES WE ARE PROPOSING TO WHAT IS GOING ON NOW. TO GET THIS SHIP RIGHTED AGAIN, TO GET PEOPLE TO FEEL SOME SENSE OF SECURITY ALSO MEANS A PLAN, IT MEANS A PROGRAM AND THAT IS SOMETHING WE GO OUT AND TALK TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ABOUT RATHER THAN JUST -- I DON'T THINK YOU GIVE UP BUT AT THE SAME TIME YOU DON'T DEPEND ON TRUMP TO BE THE ONLY REASON THAT YOU TURN THIS COUNTRY AROUND. YOU HAVE TO HAVE A PLAN THAT CONTRASTS WITH TRUMP THAT IS PROFESSIONAL, THAT IS SINCERE, THAT SPEAKS TO WHAT REAL AMERICANS WANT, AND THEN I THINK WE WILL DO FINE.

TED SIMONS: AND REPRESENTATIVE RAUL GRIJALVA WILL HOLD A HEALTH CARE TOWN HALL THIS SATURDAY MORNING FROM 10:00-11:30 AT THE WEST VIEW HIGH SCHOOL PERFORMING ARTS CENTER IN AVONDALE. COMING UP NEXT ON ARIZONA HORIZON, VOTERS IN MARICOPA COUNTY WILL SEE SOME CHANGES THE NEXT TIME THEY HEAD TO THE POLLS. WE'LL TALK TO COUNTY RECORDER ADRIAN FONTES ABOUT THE NEW VOTING SYSTEM.

Raul Grijalva: U.S. Representative, Arizona

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