The British Pop band Naked Eyes was ahead of its time. Its 1983 hit song "Promises, Promises" sums up the Governor's health insurance proposal:
You made me promises, promises
Knowing I'd believe
You knew you'd never keep.
Governor Napolitano wants to enroll an additional 100,000 children in the states Medicaid program. No one begrudges children accessing health care, but there are better plans in the private sector.
The state currently pays about $110 a month to insure a single child. But a parent can buy private insurance for the same child for as little as $35 a month. In fact, there are at least 23 different private plans in Arizona with monthly premiums cheaper than the states bill.
When Arizona expanded AHCCCS eligibility in 2003, 96,000 new people enrolled. In just two years, General Fund spending on AHCCCS jumped 48 percent from $589 million to $876 million.
If AHCCCS adds another 100,000 people, its current $1.2 billion budget could reach nearly $2 billion within 2 years. That amount is as much as the state currently spends on universities, corrections, and school facilities combined. As other programs and priorities paid for by the General Fund get squeezed for funding, the state will either have to cut spending or increase taxes.
This plan is a promise the state cannot afford to keep.
Noah Clarke is an economist with the Goldwater Institute Center for Economic Prosperity.