U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) recently wrote a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), urging the agency to reject Arizona’s new Medicaid-waiver request and alleging that the federally mandated public-comment provision hasn’t been legally satisfied.
“The State of Arizona is seeking dramatic changes to its Medicaid program and is effectively limiting the public’s ability to speak out against it,” Grijalva said. “Proceeding without affording Arizonans the opportunity to voice concerns will cast a shadow of doubt on the entire process. The alterations to Medicaid will impact people all over our state – they deserve transparency in this process and the opportunity to air their concerns over the pending outcome.”
The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) asked for renewal last month of its 1115 demonstration waiver and sought new authority to implement substantial changes to the program.
While CMS had until Thursday to decide whether or not to proceed with the State of Arizona’s request, Grijalva asked the agency to postpone its approval on grounds that the state did not adequately solicit meaningful public input by providing a website link where the full public notice can be viewed, as required by federal law. Instead, Grijalva said the AHCCCS failed to publish the application in its entirety and instead posted confusing videos and summaries that gave little detail on their proposals.
“The far-reaching changes sought by the state will have lasting impacts on the state of Arizona and the constituents I represent,” Grijalva said in the letter. “Unfortunately, Arizonans know firsthand the consequences of misguided 1115 waiver requests that have harmed our Medicaid beneficiaries, their families, the Arizona health care system and the state economy. Arizonans deserve to have their voices properly heard at the state level prior to moving forward with this process.”
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