AZ leaders voice concerns about health care, state Medicaid program

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

"We urge you to stand up for Arizona and its children, and ensure that our state's youngest residents do not end up on the wrong side of the battle."

State legislators, veterans, business leaders and doctors voiced their concerns Thursday morning about federal health care legislation and its impact on Arizona Medicaid, vulnerable populations and the economy.

[RAW VIDEO: AZ news conference on health care]

During the press conference at Phoenix Children's Hospital, speakers discussed Medicaid and proposed cuts that would negatively impact Arizona Medicaid, health care access and the local economy.

"The Arizona Medicaid system is working," said Rep. Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek) Chairwoman of House Health Committee. "We need to protect it. We know from experience what will happen if we don't."

Medicaid is the largest health care program in the country, providing care to 1.7 million Arizonans and 70 million Americans. Nationwide, one out of three children receives Medicaid/CHIP benefits.

Medicaid also pays for more than half of all long-term services, supports older adults and individuals with disabilities and is a critical safety-net program relied upon by veterans and their families.

"At Phoenix Children's Hospital, we believe that every child should have access to high-quality health care," said emergency medical physician Dr. Jared Muenzer. "Medicaid is critical to this aim."

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