Ralph Heap, "Dr. Hypocrisy," Campaigns Against Medicaid Expansion, But Took $130K in Medicaid Cash
Master and apprentice: Recalled former state Senator Russell Pearce talks with Ralph Heap (right), Pearce's revenge candidate in LD 25, in this photo Heap deleted from his Facebook page
Tall with a buzz cut and a toothy grin, Dr. Ralph Heap is a banjo-pickin' orthopedic surgeon with a handsome family and enough charisma to worry incumbent Bob Worsley in the GOP primary for state senator from deeply red Legislative District 25.
Heap also is a colossal hypocrite -- and the cat's paw of powerful politicians eager to see Worsley ousted for their own ends. But let's address the hypocrisy first.
The centerpiece of Heap's appeal to voters is his opposition to Medicaid expansion, passed in 2013, pushed by Governor Jan Brewer, and despised for ideological reasons by most GOPers in the Legislature.
Worsley was one of five Republicans in the state Senate to break ranks and vote in favor of Brewer's version of the expansion, part of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare.
In doing so, more than 300,000 Arizonans gained access to healthcare, and the dividends already have been felt locally, with the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association reporting a dip of more than 30 percent in uncompensated hospital care as a result.
Forgoing the expansion would have meant losing an estimated $8 billion injection of cash into the economy, not to mention all the folks who would not have had access to medical care.
Hospitals are kicking in money in the form of fees to meet the state's share of the costs, and Brewer's plan does not allow passing this on to consumers. Arizona can opt out if the feds fail to meet their part of the deal. So what's not to like?
But for GOPers in the Obama age, the gub'mint always is bad, and Heap seems to be of the same mind, judging by his rhetoric.
On his campaign website, he warns, "One of the biggest problems we face today is the takeover by the federal government of our healthcare system."
Heap calls Medicaid expansion "the precursor to single-payer socialized medicine" in one piece he authored for the Sonoran Alliance website, deriding the "poor quality of care in Medicaid."
I doubt Heap was referring to the care he provides. Yet according to the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, Heap has been paid more than $130,000 in Medicaid funds from 2010 to 2013.