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Democrats Say ACA Replacement Would Hurt Rural Arizona

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Arizona Democrats have been sharply critical of the GOP plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Congressman Tom O’Halleran says the bill introduced this week would have an especially negative effect on the state’s rural areas. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

O’Halleran says the Republican plan would decrease the quality of healthcare and boost costs for seniors and low-income workers. He also says restrictions to Medicaid would be particularly damaging to northern and central Arizona.

According to a recent report from House Democrats, nearly 130,000 people in the state's First and Fourth Congressional Districts could lose coverage if the ACA is repealed. The districts cover the mostly rural northern and central Arizona. The report says since the ACA went into effect in 2010, uninsured rates have dropped by nearly 7 percent in the districts.

But Arizona Republican Congressman David Schweikert says the replacement plan would increase access to affordable healthcare, and do away with harmful taxes and mandates. The House is debating the bill this week. It has been approved by the committees on Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom as executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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