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Obamacare Advocates In Arizona Urge Against Repeal Without Replacement

Health-care advocates in Arizona are cautioning that a repeal of the Affordable Care Act could leave hundreds of thousands in the state without insurance.

While the federal exchange gets much of the attention, Obamacare touches more than just the 200,000 who bought insurance through website healthcare.gov.

About 425,000 Arizonans also have coverage through the law’s Medicaid expansion. If those federal dollars go away, the state would have to come up with nearly $330 million to keep them covered. Under more dramatic scenarios, the cost could rise to a billion dollars.

Speaking in Phoenix on Wednesday, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs said the state won’t be able to shoulder that kind of new spending.

“I don’t see anyone in the state coming forward and saying we will cover this,” Hobbs said. “We don’t have the money to do it.”

Hobbs hopes Arizona’s congressional delegation will only support a repeal if there’s a comprehensive replacement.

Gov. Doug Ducey has said he doesn’t want a gap in coverage for those with insurance.

While Sen. John McCain has been adamant about the problems with Obamacare, he expressed concern this week about moving too fast on repeal without a replacement.

Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.