Former TV pitchman J.D. Hayworth thinks the reason Arizona's medicaid program is in such bad financial shape is that it covers people who are in the country illegally. The only problem with that is Arizona's medicaid program doesn't actually cover the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants.
Oh, J.D., how we've missed you (in case you forgot, Hayworth is the same guy who thinks gay marriage will somehow lead to men marrying horses).
Hayworth was on Fox News this morning, where he discussed the proposed $50 surcharge for medicaid recipients who smoke or are obese to help fill a budget shortfall with Arizona's medicaid program.
Hayworth says the idea is an act of "nanny state"-ism (which is funny coming from a guy who wants the government to dictate who's allowed to get married to whom) and that the plan does nothing to address the "real problem": illegal immigrants.
See Hayworth's argument below:
This is the danger. The nanny state. I mean, we see the weigh stations on the interstate for tractor-trailer trucks. Would you have that kind of situation? It sounds absurd, but it's the camel's nose under the tent. And what we're ignoring here is a far more obvious solution, and that is to make sure that Medicaid dollars don't go to noncitizens, and we don't continue to see, what is it, almost 60% of the illegal immigrant population having no health insurance coming in and American taxpayers paying for that? That's the real problem. Now, Arizona tried to address this, and the open borders crowd and the Chamber of Commerce and these fast food magnates happy to swap the cost or ship the cost on to the taxpayers -- come off with this kind of counterfeit compassion. But the fact is, there's a more basic way to deal with this than get involved in the nanny state, although we do remember Milton Friedman's admonition, if you want less of something, tax it.
As we mentioned, Arizona's medicaid guidelines specifically exclude "non-qualified" non-citizens from being eligible for medicaid.
"To be eligible for AHCCCS Health Insurance, other than emergency services, a person must be a qualified alien," AHCCCS guidelines state.
A "non-qualified alien" is defined as "a person who was admitted to the U.S. legally but not in one of the Qualified Alien classifications. These persons are admitted for a limited period of time and include but are not limited to foreign students, visitors for business, or pleasure, and temporary workers. A Non-Qualified Alien does not meet the alien status requirement or the Arizona residency requirement for full AHCCCS coverage or emergency services."
"Qualified alien" status typically is reserved for political refugees, those seeking asylum, victims of human trafficking, or Afghan and Iraqi special immigrants.
See some of the other qualifications for "qualified alien" status here.
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Hayworth's rumored to be considering yet another run for the U.S. Senate. Should he run, he'd have to face Congressman Jeff Flake in the GOP primary in what would undoubtedly turn into a Conservative showdown over who's tougher on immigration (reminiscent of last year's race between Hayworth and Senator John McCain).
In other words, let the brown-bashing for political gain commence.
See Hayworth's appearance on Fox News below.