Pressure up on Arizona senators as new health bill unveiled

A new U.S. Senate version of a bill repealing the Affordable Care Act retains major cuts to Medicaid and will not ease pressure on Arizona's senators to oppose the measure.

Opposition to the Medicaid cuts was highlighted Thursday when moderate state Republican lawmakers were joined at Phoenix Children's Hospital by a Phoenix Chamber of Commerce official and a physician who said they would hurt the state's most vulnerable and its economy.

"This legislation threatens to return us to the bad old days of enrollment freezes, uninsured patients, flood emergency rooms, and the cost to take care of them is shifted to hospitals and the taxpayers," said Rep. Heather Carter of Cave Creek.

Emergency Room physician Jared Muenzer called Medicaid a critical program not only for low-income children but for children with insurance who have extremely costly diseases.

"I fear children will not be able to come to the hospital and get the long-term follow-up that they need for the problems that they have," said Dr. Muenzer.

Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain have been under pressure from Gov. Doug Ducey to make changes to the Medicaid proposal.

McCain said Thursday he will offer amendments to address Ducey's concerns.

Other people, however, said the GOP campaigned on a promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, and now, they need to do it.

"Seven years ago, they started put bills for repealing it, and d----t, repeal it," said Barbara Wyllie. "Get something together and give it back to the states."

One person went further, saying that repealing Obamacare is enough.

"We need to repeal Obamacare and not replace it," Adams said. "I do not believe the government should be in the insurance business."

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.