What They’re Watching: Sen. Tyler Pace

Sen. Tyler Pace represents Arizona’s 25th Legislative District. He’s Vice-Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee and sits on the Education and Health and Human Services Committees. Pace’s campaign website describes him as “the son of a well-loved Mesa physician,” adding that he also has years of experience in the health care field, “including running and owning medical practices.”

He joins us in this edition of What They’re Watching to discuss the biggest lifts for health care policy in the Arizona Legislature this session.

Get the latest state-specific policy intelligence for the health care sector delivered to your inbox.

“The biggest lifts in this legislature for health care would probably be finding a balance between cost and quality of care. For me, the biggest concern [is] that we’ve spent so many years, as a legislature, focusing solely on cost, that we’ve reduced the amount of things that we pay for in regards to breadth of health care.

A good example would be chiropractic care, in AHCCCS, was not fully covered, even though chiropractors can help with pain relief. And so, we were relying on opioids and other traditional medicines instead of widening our care breadth and including chiropractors. And so, because of that, we used more opioids than maybe we should’ve.

But, I think the biggest lift is to be able to acknowledge that we need to find ways to improve the quality of care. And, by doing so, we’ll reduce the cost of care.

The biggest challenge to achieving that low cost of care with quality care is convincing people that other modalities of medicine are good and worth it. Many people, they hear ‘expansion of Medicaid’ or ‘expansion of health care’…and they immediately get timid and afraid, because that’s taxpayer dollars. But, what they aren’t thinking about is that by focusing on growing the way that we care for patients, by kind of capturing the entire patient — treating the entire individual, not just the individual sickness.

I mean, we talk all the time about ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ And, so much in our health care system, as a legislature, we focus on, ‘Oh, if they’re sick, we’re going to cure them.’ But, a lot of times we forget to come back.

And so, the experience level of our legislative body in preventative medicine or in continuity of care is limited. And, because of that, people struggle to be able to see that whole vision. And, the people who come and lobby for or against different things, they all want their own thing. So, as a legislative body, we’re here to represent the people. Very seldom do the people come to defend themselves on health care — sometimes they do.

So, the biggest challenge, overall, is teaching the legislative body how to improve medicine and how we can do that through statute and through policy.”