Friday, March 24, 2017

Rep. Schweikert of House Freedom Caucus explains why he's supporting GOP's Obamacare replacement

The lamestream media is furiously reporting that the House Freedom Caucus opposes the Republican's replacement for Obamacare, but that's simply not true. Rep. Schweikert, perhaps the wonkiest member of the caucus, is supporting the bill because it is desperately needed and probably as good as it's going to get due to problems it will run into in the Senate.

He explained to NPR that the quibbling is mostly over changes to the individual purchasing market - but that's only 2 percent of Schweikert's district; most people purchase their healthcare through their employer. The key is lowering premiums, that's the biggest problem facing most Americans. We're not doing enough to deal with the cost drivers.

Arizona have seen 116% premium increases in some counties, and there's only one healthcare provider to choose from under Obamacare in Arizona.

Once the bill gets to the Senate, it becomes a strangled mechanism. There's reconciliation, dealing with regulatory side, and 51 vote mechanics limits the types of language you can put in the legislation.

The fight over Obamacare was Republicans vs. Democrats, and it's still Republicans vs. Democrats, but there also regional variances; some locations within Medicaid populations are receiving lots of subsidies.

The majority of the 24 million without healthcare are those who chose not to purchase healthcare - they have the right not to purchase it. There needs to be enough optionality so people can choose which parts of healthcare they want to purchase, not everyone needs a Cadillac plan.

Listen to the NPR interview

What the heck happened to kill the AZ State Bar reform bill in the Senate??!!!!

DEAR COLLEAGUES:
Thank you for answering the bell and responding with your strong efforts to get HB2295 heard in Senator Debbie Lesko's Appropriations Committee. Unfortunately, Senator Lesko chose not to hear the bill in her committee.
HB 2295 was originally assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 28, 2017 but inexplicably, Judiciary Chair Sen. Judy Burges never put the bill on the committee agenda, despite sponsor Rep. Anthony Kern's urging to hear the bill.
Therefore, a hearing in Senate Appropriations was the final opportunity to have the bill heard and passed so it could reach the floor for a vote. Without any committee hearing, this means state bar reform has ended this legislative -- without either a hearing or a vote in the Arizona Senate.
Although we were confident HB2295 would get out of committee, make no mistake; the final floor vote in the Senate would have been difficult with the opportunity margin even narrower than last year. Just the same, we were ready to fight for every vote.
Although disappointing, do not be deterred or defeated. Each session, further incremental progress is made. This was never a one, two or three session campaign. Change of this kind is never easy, especially when the opposing forces are so well-entrenched.
With the addition of two new staunch pro-reform Arizona lawyer lawmakers, Rep. Maria Syms and Rep. David Stringer in the Arizona House, the prospects for the future are still bright. Stay the course. Rep. Anthony Kern remains committed to keep championing our fight. We can do it. We will do it.




SUPREME COURT RULE AMENDMENT PETITION TO REFORM STATE BAR.  




THE WORK TO REFORM THE STATE BAR OF ARIZONA WAS NOT LIMITED SOLELY TO THE ARIZONA LEGISLATURE THIS YEAR.
THERE IS A PENDING RULE AMENDMENT PETITION BEFORE THE ARIZONA SUPREME COURT THAT CLOSELY MODELS HB2295.
THE PROPOSED RULE CHANGE WOULD AMEND RULES 32(C) AND (D), RULES OF THE SUPREME COURT, TO MAINTAIN THE CURRENT MANDATORY MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENT FOR ALL LAWYERS BUT (1) ELIMINATE MANDATORY MEMBERSHIP DUES FOR NON-REGULATORY FUNCTIONS AND (2) ALLOW VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS FOR ALL NON-REGULATORY FUNCTIONS. IT WAS FILED JAN. 10, 2017 AND COMMENTS ARE DUE BY MAY 22, 2017. 

GO TO http://www.azcourts.gov/Rules-Forum/aft/681 AND REGISTER YOUR COMMENTS FOR R-17-0022 Petition to Amend Rules 32(c) and (d), Rules of the Supreme Court.



STOP THE PROPOSAL TO ELIMINATE TERM LIMITS FOR MEMBERS OF ATTORNEY DISCIPLINE PROBABLE CAUSE COMMITTEE.  




On January 6, 2017, Arizona Supreme Court Petition R-17-0005 was filed by the Certification and Licensing Division to amend Rule 50(b), Rules of the Supreme Court, to remove the two (2) consecutive three-year limitation on the appointment of members to the Attorney Discipline Probable Cause Committee.
This means existing members could remain entrenched without limitation -- a dangerous prospect for fairness; a recipe for habituated prosecutorial zealotry; and the alarming promise of institutionalized groupthink.

GO TO http://www.azcourts.gov/Rules-Forum/aft/664 AND REGISTER YOUR COMMENTS AGAINST R-17-0005 Petition to Amend Rules 50(b), Rules of the Supreme Court. COMMENTS ARE DUE BY MAY 22, 2017. 
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For more information about our work, visit: http://workingforabetterbar.org/

Yet another DES employee tells wrongly fired director Tim Jeffries how bad things have gotten again

Dear Director J. aka Fearless Leader,

I have been meaning to pen you an email to share the troubles and agony we continue to face day-in and day-out at what was once the Great DES.  Ever since your forced departure, things have just not been the same.  Colleagues are no longer colleagues; we are numbers and metrics of robotic lean procedures.  As much as standardization is needed to be part of production, without the humanity effect and leadership, we are just a count on the employee roster.

As you have seen, we are no longer allowed to smile, let alone have the drive to praise a “You’re Awesome” in fear of retaliation or hatred of your loving philosophy. Mr. Smiley has been slowly disappearing from our offices and have slowly been fainting into our memoirs of happiness.  The decision to rehire bullies and lairs was a huge slap in the face to those of us who suffered from their bureaucratic legacy. The lack of communication of who now calls himself our “Director”, pusillanimous hides behind his monitor and keyboard, without any intent to even interact with anyone who crosses his path.  The repaint of the bollards, along with the audacious email regarding Merit payments, seem nothing more than what I deem to be blowing hot air, as if there is actual true meaning behind the words.  I find it hilarious to be called “Stewards of taxpayer dollars” when we can’t even hold accountability to those who bought HeaPlus. The struggles we face every day with a system that doesn’t help with our numbers, let alone serve our clients.  Is absolutely embarrassing!

Well, enough about the bureaucracy of ignorance, I hope things have been great in your new endeavor. Keep fighting for the poor. We miss you!

God Bless you always!


Fellow servant in Christ.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Harvard study: Arizona #1 for political and legal corruption

An excerpt from the first in a series of articles from the Arizona Daily Independent -

The Harvard study concluded that Arizona had the highest instance of illegal corruption. Researchers define illegal corruption as:
“…the private gains in the form of cash or gifts by a government official, in exchange for providing specific benefits to private individuals or groups. It is the form of corruption that attracts a great deal of public attention.”
The Harvard researchers found that Arizona did a little bit better in terms of “legal” corruption. Researchers define legal corruption as:
“… the political gains in the form of campaign contributions or endorsements by a government official, in exchange for providing specific benefits to private individuals or groups, be it by explicit or implicit understanding.”
Both forms are insidious and when those “specific benefits” take the form of a get-out-of-jail-free card, or looking the other way, there is virtually no way to stop corrupt practices.

Prosecutor shoves evidence of DES contractor corruption under the rug

Public Corruption In Arizona Takes All Forms

Public corruption takes all forms, and in Arizona it can be found on all levels of government. One of the most common forms of public corruption in Arizona these days is hidden under the cloak of prosecutorial discretion.
“Prosecutorial discretion refers to the fact that under American law, government prosecuting attorneys have nearly absolute powers. A prosecuting attorney has power on various matters including those relating to choosing whether or not to bring criminal charges, deciding the nature of charges, plea bargaining and sentence recommendation.” – USlegal.com
To quote 19th century British politician, Lord Acton: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Because of the nearly absolute powers they wield, candidates for county attorney and state attorney general races rake in the big bucks from very powerful special interests. Those contributions, along with old alliances and associations can, and do, influence whether or not a criminal act is prosecuted.
That is not how it is supposed to be; justice is supposed to be blind. However; too often in Arizona justice only turns a blind eye to the shenanigans of corrupt players.
For those na├»ve souls, who enter public service believing that public’s trust is to be earned and cherished, learning that justice is reserved for a few can be tough. Such was the case for Department of Economic Security director Tim Jeffries and his team.
Justice turns a blind eye
When Jeffries took over the helm at DES he was given very specific instructions to clean house and bring the Department up to the “speed of business.” He brought with him a team of professionals made up of civil servants, and business people.
Almost immediately it became apparent that the Department was in poor shape. Jeffries inherited a failing software program through which some of Arizona’s neediest residents fell. Michael Veit was the AHCCCS procurement agent for the HEA Plus project. In May 2016, Veit, and his long-time friend and co-conspirator Michael J. Cameron, were sentenced to prison for stealing $5.9 million from the State of Arizona, reported the ADI.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Legislature must investigate $142 million in waste by State’s Medicaid eligibility system

On February 15, 2017 Tim Jeffries, the former director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) revealed that the current computer software program used by DES and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) is a failed and unsustainable system. Jeffries added the software development vendor should be terminated and investigated.
In an appearance on the James T. Harris radio show on 104.1 FM, Jeffries explained some of the failures of the system known as HEA Plus. HEA Plus, the State’s Medicaid eligibility system, was launched under the purview of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) with the launch of Obamacare and subsequent expansion of Medicaid.
“The system was never intended to just be for Medicaid,” said Jeffries. “It was intended to be integrated with TANF (Temporary Cash Assistance For Needy Families aka ‘welfare’) and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program aka ‘food stamps’) because in our offices across the state handle eligibility processing for all three Federal programs.” Jeffries continued by stating “Arizona DES has 77 service centers…an integrated system is needed to efficiently and cost-effectively assess eligibility of Arizonans for Medicaid, food stamps and welfare.