Thank you all for being here.
Last week, I announced one of the most difficult decisions of my career in public service -- to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
As I weighed this decision over many weeks, I sought the input of a range of stakeholders, business leaders and health care executives
people like those standing with me today.
Earlier today, I spoke about the importance of improving Arizona's competitiveness.
The men and women who've joined me today know what that is all about.
They know the impact that 8 Billion Dollars from the federal government over four years can have on the Arizona economy.
They know this will save and create many thousands of jobs in communities across our state.
Likewise, our hospital presidents and CEOs understand the growing costs they face in providing care to the uninsured.
Those costs are real. And they are not just absorbed into hospital bottom lines.
No, ultimately much of this cost is passed along to Arizona families.
It is estimated that health premiums for the average Arizona family are increased nearly 2 Thousand Dollars per year to help offset the costs of providing care to the uninsured.
With my plan, we can not only begin to get a handle on these costs
we can throw a lifeline to safety-net and rural hospitals, like Yavapai Regional Medical Center.
As I first mentioned, this decision was not one I reached easily.
I've never been a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, and I am uneasy about the federal government playing such a large role in private individuals' health care decisions.
But the decision faced by Arizona leaders today is not one of whether the Affordable Care Act should exist.
It is the law of the land.
Our decision is whether we will take the action that most benefits Arizona families and businesses.
I'm proud to be joined by some of our state's leaders in business and health care, and I'd now like to give them some time to tell their stories.