June News

June is going to be a month that will impact Arizonans as the Supreme Court will decide two issues before them: who can draw congressional lines and if subsidies for those buying insurance on the Federal exchange will continue.

Yes, very important decisions are on the horizon for Arizonans. Take the first issue: who draws Congressional lines every 10 years after census results are known? In Arizona, the voters put this responsibility in the hands of the Independent Redistricting Commission (Prop. 106 in 2000). The decision to remove it from the AZ legislature and put it into the hands of 2 Republicans, 2 Democrats, and 1 Independent approved by the legislature isn't sitting well with Republicans who have challenged this in court after the last redistricting happened for the 2012 elections. They were particularly upset when some districts became competitive, like the newly created CD 9 seat, currently held by Kyrsten Sinema. So now it is in the hands of the 9 Supreme Court justices to decide who should draw the lines. This will have great impact, of course, if it goes back to the Legislature; we know how those lines will be drawn, and it won't be in favor of competitiveness.

As Democrats, the seats held by Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema will be targets. CD 2 once held by Gabby Giffords and Ron Barber will be at greater risk. The decision will have a big impact which will be felt first with the 2016 election.

The second decision will impact Arizonans who purchased health care coverage on the exchange. Since Arizona, and many Republican controlled states, decided not to create a "state" exchange, this forced those who needed to purchase health care coverage to do so on the "Federal" Exchange. Again Republican attempts to defeat/repeal the ACA (Affordable Care Act) haven't worked, so they have taken it to court based on the wording in the legislation where "federal" and "state" exchanges are used interchangeably in the bill. However, the subsidies that people can get have been tied to the "state" exchanges. The Republicans are pushing that only those who got coverage on a state exchange are entitled to the subsidies. Of course, most people had to get their coverage on the federal exchange since Republican controlled states, like Arizona, didn't create state exchanges! So if the Supreme Court rules that only the state exchanges, due to this language, would be entitled to subsidies, then Arizonans will find themselves at risk of not being able to afford coverage. Of course, that would disrupt the stability of the ACA, as people may not be able to afford health care, and those staying on probably will see their premiums go up. Thus a vicious cycle to get us back to having a large population once again without coverage.

So please watch the news to see how life will be impacted by these Supreme Court decisions. Who says it doesn't matter who gets appointed to the Supreme Court? Only those that don't know appointments to the Supreme Court are for life. And it all starts with the President in office when a court position is vacated due to death or resignation.

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