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Healthcare reform backers file petitions to get on Arizona ballot

Supporters of an initiative to impose new requirements on hospitals and insurers deliver petitions Thursday to put the issue on the November ballot. PHOENIX — Arizona voters could get to decide on major changes in health-care policies and new mandates on hospitals in Arizona even as the state continues to grapple with COVID-19.

Petitions filed Thursday with the state seek to require: hospitals to comply with certain national standards of infection control;

new protections for patients against “surprise” medical bills from doctors in hospitals who turn out to not be “in network”;

a guarantee that individuals with preexisting conditions will be able to obtain insurance if the federal Affordable Care Act is repealed;

a 20% pay hike for hospital workers — not including executives and doctors — over the next four years.

Backers say they submitted more than 425,000 signatures to put the issue on the November ballot. They need just 237,645 of those to be valid to qualify.The campaign, financed by a California-based union, actually started last year. But spokesman Rodd McLeod said the current health crisis underlines the need for the changes.“What COVID has done is reveal some of the cracks in our public-health system,” he said. And […]

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