Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

March 29, 2007


Host: Steve Goldstein

Health Insurance for the Poor


  • state lawmakers are working on getting some money to help promote state health care plans for the poor. Dana Naimark of Children's Action Alliance and Representative Kirk Adams will talk about the effort.
Guests:
  • Robert Meza - State Representative,Phoenix
  • Kirk Adams - State Representative
  • Steven Goodnick - Associate Vice-President for Research and Director of the Institute for Nanoelectronics, Arizona State University
Category: Medical/Health

View Transcript
Steve Goldstein:
Tonight on "Horizon," a bill that would use lottery funds to help the homeless is making progress at the state capitol. Also at the capitol, efforts to help schools tell parents about health care plans for the indigent. And we'll tell you about nanotechnology and how it's progressing in Arizona. All that coming up, on "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible through contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Steve Goldstein:
Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Steve Goldstein. The House Speaker and Senate President announced today that the Legislature will appeal a U.S. district judge's ruling in the English Language Learner case. The Legislature will ask a federal appeals court to overturn the decision by Tucson Judge Raner Collins. The lawsuit is over funding for programs to teach the approximately 150,000 E.L.L. students. A human smuggling ring that was using travel agencies to arrange flights for illegal immigrants has been broken up. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard says 14 people who worked in the travel agencies have been arrested. The six valley travel agencies are accused of moving 6800 people since 2005. Also two people were arrested for running drop houses where the illegal aliens were held until they were transported. A plan to use lottery money to help Arizona's homeless population passed out of the Senate Health Committee today. An amendment to House Bill 2608 would send up to $5 million a year from the lottery fund to the Department of Economic Security. D.E.S. would then provide grants to nonprofit groups that serve the homeless. Here to tell us more is the bill sponsor State Representative Robert Meza of Phoenix. Welcome.

Robert Meza:
Thank you Steve. Thank you for having me.

Steve Goldstein:
Robert let's talk about what this bill originally had. It was focused on dentistry. How did it change?

Robert Meza:
Absolutely. It changed because the Dental Commission didn't want the bill to move forward. It passed out of the House 56-4. They decided to not have the bill move forward. It was my bill originally so I said why don't we use it as a bill as a striker in the Senate for homelessness. Now prior to that I was working a group of activists, some lawmakers, some policy wonks, and faith-based groups to work on homelessness. They came to me and said can we use your bill as a striker to move it forward, to fund $5 million for homelessness in Arizona? I said absolutely.

Steve Goldstein:
How important is additional funding for the homeless? How serious is that problem?

Robert Meza:
It's a very serious issue. Currently we have about 12,000 families that are homeless, men, women and children. A big chunk of that are veterans from the Vietnam War or who currently who served in Iraq. So throughout the state we're feeling the heat and the pressure. Faith-based groups, nonprofits have come forward and said, Robert, we need to move the agenda on homelessness. Since 2000, we've been receiving $1 million per year since 2000. We want to up the ante to 5 million. Currently in Nevada in 2005, Nevada appropriated $9 million to tackle the issue of homelessness. In 2007 they'll appropriate $20 million for the next two years. Nevada and Arizona have something in common. They have explosion in growth, a very fast-growing population. So we need to set up the proper infrastructure to move Arizona forward in this arena.

Steve Goldstein:
We assume this problem will only get worse?

Robert Meza:
If we don't address it. If we don't address it in this session with the governor, the speaker and the Senate president it will get worse. We feel a tidal wave coming. Actually all these groups have come together and they said, please do something about the situation. They have taken a great leadership role, the nonprofits and the faith-based groups and the municipalities, the counties and the cities. They have done their responsibility. And they have great leadership skills in tackling this issue. They have come to us and said can you partner with us? You as a state, can you partner with us to handle this situation?

Steve Goldstein:
The $5 million in funding, will that affect what the lottery funds currently?

Robert Meza:
No, it will not affect the lottery funds. Visualize this, visualize money, first of all 41 million goes to the general fund from the lottery, from the revenues. Then there's a group of buckets that get funded first. The Heritage Fund, the Transient Fund, the County Assistant Fund. Those get funded first. The last bucket to get funded is homelessness. If there's money left over, homelessness can receive up to $5 million for transitional housing and emergency services. Anything above the 5 million goes back into the General Fund.

Steve Goldstein:
I'd like to talk a little bit about the politics of this. As a Democrat in a House that is still led by Republicans, how did you advance this bill? Did you have Republican support?

Robert Meza:
I did have Republican support. Carolyn Allen who heard the bill. She is passionate about the issue and so is Senator Barbara Left. Also I try to transcend boundaries. That's the most important thing being at the Legislature to work with both parties. Because homelessness affects all socioeconomic people of all ethnicities, all religions. It's an issue that we all have to worry about in Arizona. If we work as a team and as a group we can handle the issue.

Steve Goldstein:
I wonder what you'd say to people who have a negative view of the homeless. Certain perceptions about them. What can this kind of help change? The perception of the homeless and the reality of their lives?

Robert Meza:
It's self-sufficient. You want to make people self-sufficient. Most people want to be self-sufficient and self-reliant. These programs that will be funded move in that direction and focus people on self-reliance and self-sufficiency. So I think it is the most important thing. The perception is you can't have a bad perception. You're dealing with a human being. You're dealing with humanity on this issue.

Steve Goldstein:
What's next for your bill? What sort of progress will be made?

Robert Meza:
I think the bill what's going to happen the tidal wave is coming. The activists, policy wonks, the mayors are going to get involved throughout the state on this bill. And I think we're going to move in the direction of getting moneys appropriated that's going to probably run through appropriation in the budget package.

Steve Goldstein:
Representative Robert Meza, thanks very much.

Robert Meza:
Thank you.

Steve Goldstein:
Right now schools can tell parents about healthcare plans for poor but the state can't contract with any organization to provide information about access or kids care through schools. A bill to change that is stalled but there are efforts to get money in the state budget to reach 100,000 kids who now qualify for health insurance but are not on the plans. Mike Sauceda tells us how one school currently conducts outreach for kids care and access.

Mike Sauceda:
This middle school in Tempe is where Jacqueline Favaro applies her trade as a social worker helping families of kids connect with social services. That includes helping families apply for healthcare insurance for the indigent, either access or kids care.

Jacqueline Favaro: When I connect with families, I assess their need. I ask the questions. I ask, you know, if they have health insurance. And if they do not I ask about some of their resources and ask about their interest in applying for access or kids care. And I assess based on the information that they provide me, which would be, you know, which would they qualify for. And based on that, I will either give them the information so that they can access the application, or I will send them an application or meet with them to help them complete the application.

Mike Sauceda: Favaro says there are no restrictions on the school in communicating information about access or kids care to families. And sometimes they need help with the basics.

Jacqueline Favaro:
For example, what I find oftentimes is that kids care, while it's easy to complete and easy to obtain, you could easily obtain an application through internet, many of our families may not have access to internet. So then my role is to perhaps download an application and send it to them.

Mike Sauceda:
There is a benefit to the school in letting parents know about the healthcare plans.

Jacqueline Favaro:
The benefits to the schools is that when children are healthy and feeling well, they perform better in school. And so the benefit is that when a child is not feeling well, whether they have a toothache or whether they need a vision exam, or whether we suspect that they are not hearing well, that there are those resources to connect them and get the medical assistance that they need so that they can in turn feel well and be healthy and perform well in school. I often will get a phone call back to thank me for helping them connect to those resources. Because they truly feel that it's made a difference in their lives.

Steve Goldstein:
Here now to talk about expanding efforts to reach out to families who might qualify for access and kids care are Representative Kirk Adams and Dana Naimark of the Children's Action Alliance. Both of you welcome.

Dana Naimark: Thanks Steve.

Kirk Adams:
Thank you.

Steve Goldstein:
Dana what happened to the bill in the Legislature that would have allowed the state to contract in order to get the word out in schools?

Dana Naimark:
The bill was heard and adopted in the Senate Health Committee and now it's stuck in the process along with other bills. But we believe the issue is very much alive and it's being discussed by lawmakers. They're working out the budget and other issues.

Steve Goldstein:
Do you anticipate a chance for this specific bill being revived or will it look different?

Dana Naimark:
I think the bill will be revived in some form or included into the budget. The real key is that Legislature make a positive statement that they would like outreach to happen, that they want children to be enrolled in kids care to have healthcare coverage, to be healthy, to be ready to learn, to be able to succeed. And the other key is that we have some public funding devoted to this. There have been private efforts at outreach that have been very successful but they stop and start. They come and go depending on when the private funding can be scraped together. We really need some public funding to sustain the efforts and make outreach as effective as it can be.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk Adams your perspective on the public funding idea.

Kirk Adams:
Certainly that is something that should be considered in the budget process in terms of -- first of all you have to decide what type of outreach activities you're going to be funding. What does the statute allow for now? What is the goal? That's when you start making your funding priorities.

Steve Goldstein:
Did you have opposition personally to this idea of lifting this gag rule?

Kirk Adams:
Well, I think to characterize it as a gag rule is a little bit of a mischaracterization. Because the current statute does provide for the opportunities for schools to conduct outreach activities. What it prohibits is the schools from actually contracting with the school districts. However, in recent years that has been I believe interpreted very, very conservatively by the administration. And so perhaps some clarifying language that allows them to conduct outreach activities through the schools in the form of brochures or fliers, letting parents know about these programs. Perhaps that type of language change would be appropriate. But I don't think it would be appropriate to allow access to actually contract with school districts for access-related activities.

Steve Goldstein:
Dana, I hesitate to ask you in an ideal world, but in an ideal world how much funding would you want for a program like this?

Dana Naimark:
You don't need a lot of funding for the outreach itself. Common sense activities. Distribution of fliers and radio ads, work at community groups and health fairs. You do need the funding to provide the healthcare coverage for the kids who come in throughout outreach. That's something we think should be a priority in the budget both in this year and in coming years.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk, what's your response to that?

Kirk Adams:
We certainly do need to plan for enrollment growth in excess. And each budget cycle the governor puts forward her proposal relative to how many children she thinks will enroll in the plan. G.L.B.C does the exact same thing. Then there's sort of a negotiated agreement on what that actual enrollment growth will be. That's the process we're in right now. But I do believe that enrollment growth will be covered in this budget.

Dana Naimark:
Financially, Steve, one of the great things about kids care and access is we get federal matching funds. So for every state dollar we put in we get either $2 or $3 depending on the child in federal funds. So it's very cost effective for Arizona. We get such a benefit from kids being healthy, from families being stronger, from parents not having to miss work when their kids are sick. So it's a great payoff.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk?

Kirk Adams:
Let me just make I think a broader distinction here I think is important. Our schools are design to educate our children. And they're not designed to be centers for access, if you will. That's why the Legislature originally put this prohibition for contracting. But at the same time they recognized that we needed to be able to provide parents and children information relative to these programs that are available to them. And I think that was the balance that was trying to be -- attempted to be reached, anyway, in the current statute. And I think with some clarifying language we can reach many of the goals that Dana is addressing right now without stepping over the bounds of actually allowing access or schools to become access-related centers.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk, we are talking about health insurance for kids. That's a tough issue to be against in any way. And I wonder if because of that there will be momentum for some sort of effort in that sense. I suppose people don't want to be on the record of voting against healthcare for kids.

Kirk Adams:
Well, I certainly am not on the record as opposing healthcare for kids. That's not what this particular so-called gag rule is about. It's about what is the proper role between access and the school districts. And we believe that that proper role is to conduct outreach activities, but it's not to provide contracted services into the schools themselves. So that's the issue here. The Legislature is going to fully fund the enrollment growth. That will be an agreed-upon amount of dollars between the governor and Legislature. So that's not really the issue relative to the gag rule.

Dana Naimark:
And I think the key issue is moving forward. We have 250,000 kids who are not covered with healthcare coverage right now. And Arizona voters think that's too many. They want the Legislature to do more. A recent poll of registered voters showed that 8 out of 10 said that covering more kids with healthcare coverage should be a high priority for the Legislature this year. So I think the real key is what is our Legislature going to do with their policy decisions, with their budget decisions to move us forward so that more kids have health coverage.

Steve Goldstein:
Do you feel like there's momentum for that, Dana, from people you've spoken to?

Dana Naimark:
I do. There's a lot of support and a lot of interest a lot of enthusiasm. The details still remain to be worked out. And all the voters need to be involved in that and be e-mailing and calling their legislators to remind them it is a high priority and to make sure it doesn't slip through the cracks.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk as a small businessman I want to get your perspective just on the idea of more healthcare for dependents and for kids. How vital is that in our society that that is taken care of?

Kirk Adams:
Steve, it's absolutely critical that we get our handle around the healthcare crisis. And there's been a lot of us for years that have been trying to sound the bell about the healthcare crisis. And really, it comes down to I think everybody agrees on what the problem is. Where the disagreement comes in is how you solve the problem or how you begin to solve the problem. And the truth of the matter is, in Arizona we have to be realistic about this and understand that we can do a lot of things and we should do everything that we can do. But there's also a large federal responsibility when it comes to health insurance. So that doesn't excuse us from implementing policies. But the real question is, what kind of policies? Do we create policies that push people more towards government-run health insurance, or do we create policies that provide more opportunities in the private market place? That's where the disagreement, not whether or not people should have health insurance.

Steve Goldstein:
As a lawmaker does it make your job easier or difficult when everyone agrees there is a problem and then we're coming at it from different angles.

Kirk Adams:
You can't find common ground until you agree that there is a problem. In that sense I think that's where the common ground is. Is there a problem? We have over 1 million people uninsured in the state of Arizona. And we're a growing state. That number is only going to grow also. And so I believe it's an issue that we have to begin to address. And it's not just affordability. It's also portability. It's reaching out to those populations that currently don't have insurance and developing insurance products that are less expensive and provide them basic coverage. Those are the types of things that I believe we need to be focusing on to address the health insurance crisis.

Steve Goldstein:
Dana.

Dana Naimark:
The beauty of outreach for kids care is that it is very common sense. You don't have to create anything new through some very simple and straightforward efforts we can bring healthcare coverage to many thousands of kids who really need it.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk, finally very briefly, the governor in her state-of-the-state had wanted to increase coverage for kids care 300\% above the poverty level. Was that D.O.A. when that was introduced or did that ever have a chance?

Kirk Adams:
I think that was an overly aggressive statement. Number one, I don't know that the state budget can support right now that sort of incredible increase in the potential population on kids care. That's not to say that we don't have to address that population. But when you go to 300\% you're really reaching in right into the middle-class. One thing we don't want to do is move people off of private insurance on to the rolls of government insurance. Because in the long run that's going to be much more expensive for us.

Steve Goldstein:
Representative Kirk Adams, Dana Naimark from the Children's Action Alliance thanks very much to both of you.

Kirk Adams, Dana Naimark:
Thank you.

Steve Goldstein:
It is a technology that's impacting our lives more and more every day. By its very nature we can't see it directly. It's nanotechnology. Arizona is a place where nanotech research is growing. I'll talk to an Arizona State University professor about that. First Mike Sauceda tells us more about nanotech.

Mike Sauceda:
At Arizona State University nanotechnology research is an ongoing daily endeavor. But what is nanotechnology? It's technology on the very very small scale. A nanometer is 1 billionth of a meter. That makes a nanometer the size of 10 hydrogen atoms lined up in a row. Nanotech does affect your daily life but it's really something you can't see. It's in your life now. Much of the new computer technology now exists on a nanoscale. But it's a lot more than that nanotechnology also exists in the medical field. That's where a lot of research is occurring. Nanotechnology -- researchers are working to exploit those differences to our advantage. While the actual technology may be small, the impact is getting bigger and bigger especially in the economic realm. The National Science Foundation says the global market for nano materials should grow from 300 million last year to 1 trillion by 2015. At Arizona State University there are many programs dedicated to nanotech research.

Steve Goldstein:
Here now to talk more about nanotech is Steven Goodnick the Associate Vice-President for Research and the Director of the Institute for Nanoelectronics at A.S.U. Doctor Goodnick, good to have you here. Thank you.

Stephen Goodnick:
Thanks Steve.

Steve Goldstein:
Let's get a further definition of nanotechnology. People are hearing about it more and more. How small is a nanometer, for example?

Stephen Goodnick:
Nanotechnology refers to slide scales at the nanometer scale. A nanometer is 1 billionth of a meter. So just for comparison, a nanometer would be approximately the size of maybe 5 or 6 atoms put together.

Steve Goldstein:
We've heard about various films, trying to think about the Tom Cruise movie that mentioned nanotechnology. How long has it really been around?

Stephen Goodnick:
nanotechnology has actually been around thousands of years. It's just that we didn't know it. So stained glass has been used in church windows actually has nano particles in it that give off light and give the sort of resilient glow that stained glass has. So really it's been around for a long time. It's just that recently we've been able to control matter at that level, look at it and see it and be able to control things.

Steve Goldstein:
What are some of the different elements that come into effect when something becomes that small?

Stephen Goodnick:
The properties in materials change completely when you get down to that scale. In particular, materials like gold or silicon, when they form nanoparticles they change the properties so their optical and electronic properties change. You can use those changes in order to make new materials and new devices.

Steve Goldstein:
How much of nanotechnology involves what's organic and how much is inorganic?

Stephen Goodnick:
Well, it's really hard to make a distinction. You know biological systems are nanotechnology in a sense, proteins and D.N.A and all that are self-assembled objects that have formed at the nano scale. So really all of human life is an organic nano system is if you want to think about it at the molecular level. But in the semi-conductor industry for example that is responsible for the computer chips in our home computers and everything, the transistors that make of the individual components of that are nanoscale devices. They really have feature sizes that are approaching 1 nanometer.

Steve Goldstein:
So what are some of the obvious advantages of dealing with items that are that small?

Stephen Goodnick:
One thing for example in the semi-conductor industry making things smaller and smaller means you can make more and more of them. So you get a big increase in the number of individual sort of entities devices that you have. Of course that leads to improved performance and lower cost.

Steve Goldstein:
What are some of the things A.S.U. is doing with nanotechnology right now?

Stephen Goodnick:
A.S.U. has a number of different centers that are focused on nanotechnology. So at the Biodesign Institute, for example, we have a number of centers that are working on I will call it nano-biosciences and working on, for example, medicines that can be targeted by nanoparticles, looking at, for example, single molecules and using those for sensors. At the same time, there's other centers like the Arizona Institute for Nanoelectronics that looks at the use of nanotechnology to enable electronics and communications such as the issue I mentioned in the computer industry. And we also have a center for nanotechnology in society that actually looks at what are the effects of nanotechnology in society such as, for example, health or the growth of information technology. How does that affect society? They try to address some of those issues from a social science sort of perspective.

Steve Goldstein:
Now, A.S.U. recently hosted a conference related to nanotechnology. Were there some highlights you could give us from that?

Stephen Goodnick:
Well, we had a conference which had approximately 300 attendees from all over the world. We had two Nobel laureates that were there that talked about various aspects of nanoscience and we also had roundtable discussions on the effect of the economy on nanotechnology. Leaders from business that talked about what are going to be the next wave of inventions.

Steve Goldstein:
I think that's something people are fascinated by. They want to know from a practical matter how is money going to be made from nanotechnology? How much is this going to affect the U.S. and the world economy?

Stephen Goodnick:
Well, as the clip discussed, the present sort of market for nanotechnology materials is about 300 million. And it's anticipated that by 2015 it's going to be 1 to 2 trillion. So there's an enormous growth of sort of nanotechnology-enabled industries. And we look to Arizona to have an enormous growth in those in the information sciences and in the biosciences.

Steve Goldstein:
Do you anticipate that's something that the average person in Arizona will come in contact with in the next decade or so?

Stephen Goodnick:
Well, besides the impact on computers and cell phones and those sort of technologies, really I think what you're going to see is impacting the biosciences in medical, diagnostics and therapeutics. Hand-held diagnostic tools that are enabled by nanotechnology that allow doctors to make much more rapid and portable sort of devices for measuring what's going on in your body. At some point eventually if nanodevices get small enough then they may be implanted in your body and be able to report out on what's happening and lead to a lot of lifesaving sort of technology.

Steve Goldstein:
Doctor Stephen Goodnick thanks very much for joining us and talking about nanotechnology.

Stephen Goodnick:
Thank you.

Larry Lemmons:
Leaders in the State Legislature decide to appeal the Tucson judge's ruling in the English Language Learner funding controversy. And Hillary Clinton remains Arizona Democrats first choice for president in '08 but the race is tightening. The "Journalists Roundtable" Friday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

Steve Goldstein:
That is "Horizon" for Thursday night. I'm Steve Goldstein. Thanks for watching.

Lottery funds for Homeless


  • A bill is progressing through the state legislature that would use lottery funds to help the homeless. Representative Robert Meza will talk about the bill.
Guests:
  • Robert Meza - State Representative,Phoenix
  • Kirk Adams - State Representative
  • Steven Goodnick - Associate Vice-President for Research and Director of the Institute for Nanoelectronics, Arizona State University
Category: Legislature

View Transcript
Steve Goldstein:
Tonight on "Horizon," a bill that would use lottery funds to help the homeless is making progress at the state capitol. Also at the capitol, efforts to help schools tell parents about health care plans for the indigent. And we'll tell you about nanotechnology and how it's progressing in Arizona. All that coming up, on "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible through contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Steve Goldstein:
Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Steve Goldstein. The House Speaker and Senate President announced today that the Legislature will appeal a U.S. district judge's ruling in the English Language Learner case. The Legislature will ask a federal appeals court to overturn the decision by Tucson Judge Raner Collins. The lawsuit is over funding for programs to teach the approximately 150,000 E.L.L. students. A human smuggling ring that was using travel agencies to arrange flights for illegal immigrants has been broken up. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard says 14 people who worked in the travel agencies have been arrested. The six valley travel agencies are accused of moving 6800 people since 2005. Also two people were arrested for running drop houses where the illegal aliens were held until they were transported. A plan to use lottery money to help Arizona's homeless population passed out of the Senate Health Committee today. An amendment to House Bill 2608 would send up to $5 million a year from the lottery fund to the Department of Economic Security. D.E.S. would then provide grants to nonprofit groups that serve the homeless. Here to tell us more is the bill sponsor State Representative Robert Meza of Phoenix. Welcome.

Robert Meza:
Thank you Steve. Thank you for having me.

Steve Goldstein:
Robert let's talk about what this bill originally had. It was focused on dentistry. How did it change?

Robert Meza:
Absolutely. It changed because the Dental Commission didn't want the bill to move forward. It passed out of the House 56-4. They decided to not have the bill move forward. It was my bill originally so I said why don't we use it as a bill as a striker in the Senate for homelessness. Now prior to that I was working a group of activists, some lawmakers, some policy wonks, and faith-based groups to work on homelessness. They came to me and said can we use your bill as a striker to move it forward, to fund $5 million for homelessness in Arizona? I said absolutely.

Steve Goldstein:
How important is additional funding for the homeless? How serious is that problem?

Robert Meza:
It's a very serious issue. Currently we have about 12,000 families that are homeless, men, women and children. A big chunk of that are veterans from the Vietnam War or who currently who served in Iraq. So throughout the state we're feeling the heat and the pressure. Faith-based groups, nonprofits have come forward and said, Robert, we need to move the agenda on homelessness. Since 2000, we've been receiving $1 million per year since 2000. We want to up the ante to 5 million. Currently in Nevada in 2005, Nevada appropriated $9 million to tackle the issue of homelessness. In 2007 they'll appropriate $20 million for the next two years. Nevada and Arizona have something in common. They have explosion in growth, a very fast-growing population. So we need to set up the proper infrastructure to move Arizona forward in this arena.

Steve Goldstein:
We assume this problem will only get worse?

Robert Meza:
If we don't address it. If we don't address it in this session with the governor, the speaker and the Senate president it will get worse. We feel a tidal wave coming. Actually all these groups have come together and they said, please do something about the situation. They have taken a great leadership role, the nonprofits and the faith-based groups and the municipalities, the counties and the cities. They have done their responsibility. And they have great leadership skills in tackling this issue. They have come to us and said can you partner with us? You as a state, can you partner with us to handle this situation?

Steve Goldstein:
The $5 million in funding, will that affect what the lottery funds currently?

Robert Meza:
No, it will not affect the lottery funds. Visualize this, visualize money, first of all 41 million goes to the general fund from the lottery, from the revenues. Then there's a group of buckets that get funded first. The Heritage Fund, the Transient Fund, the County Assistant Fund. Those get funded first. The last bucket to get funded is homelessness. If there's money left over, homelessness can receive up to $5 million for transitional housing and emergency services. Anything above the 5 million goes back into the General Fund.

Steve Goldstein:
I'd like to talk a little bit about the politics of this. As a Democrat in a House that is still led by Republicans, how did you advance this bill? Did you have Republican support?

Robert Meza:
I did have Republican support. Carolyn Allen who heard the bill. She is passionate about the issue and so is Senator Barbara Left. Also I try to transcend boundaries. That's the most important thing being at the Legislature to work with both parties. Because homelessness affects all socioeconomic people of all ethnicities, all religions. It's an issue that we all have to worry about in Arizona. If we work as a team and as a group we can handle the issue.

Steve Goldstein:
I wonder what you'd say to people who have a negative view of the homeless. Certain perceptions about them. What can this kind of help change? The perception of the homeless and the reality of their lives?

Robert Meza:
It's self-sufficient. You want to make people self-sufficient. Most people want to be self-sufficient and self-reliant. These programs that will be funded move in that direction and focus people on self-reliance and self-sufficiency. So I think it is the most important thing. The perception is you can't have a bad perception. You're dealing with a human being. You're dealing with humanity on this issue.

Steve Goldstein:
What's next for your bill? What sort of progress will be made?

Robert Meza:
I think the bill what's going to happen the tidal wave is coming. The activists, policy wonks, the mayors are going to get involved throughout the state on this bill. And I think we're going to move in the direction of getting moneys appropriated that's going to probably run through appropriation in the budget package.

Steve Goldstein:
Representative Robert Meza, thanks very much.

Robert Meza:
Thank you.

Steve Goldstein:
Right now schools can tell parents about healthcare plans for poor but the state can't contract with any organization to provide information about access or kids care through schools. A bill to change that is stalled but there are efforts to get money in the state budget to reach 100,000 kids who now qualify for health insurance but are not on the plans. Mike Sauceda tells us how one school currently conducts outreach for kids care and access.

Mike Sauceda:
This middle school in Tempe is where Jacqueline Favaro applies her trade as a social worker helping families of kids connect with social services. That includes helping families apply for healthcare insurance for the indigent, either access or kids care.

Jacqueline Favaro: When I connect with families, I assess their need. I ask the questions. I ask, you know, if they have health insurance. And if they do not I ask about some of their resources and ask about their interest in applying for access or kids care. And I assess based on the information that they provide me, which would be, you know, which would they qualify for. And based on that, I will either give them the information so that they can access the application, or I will send them an application or meet with them to help them complete the application.

Mike Sauceda: Favaro says there are no restrictions on the school in communicating information about access or kids care to families. And sometimes they need help with the basics.

Jacqueline Favaro:
For example, what I find oftentimes is that kids care, while it's easy to complete and easy to obtain, you could easily obtain an application through internet, many of our families may not have access to internet. So then my role is to perhaps download an application and send it to them.

Mike Sauceda:
There is a benefit to the school in letting parents know about the healthcare plans.

Jacqueline Favaro:
The benefits to the schools is that when children are healthy and feeling well, they perform better in school. And so the benefit is that when a child is not feeling well, whether they have a toothache or whether they need a vision exam, or whether we suspect that they are not hearing well, that there are those resources to connect them and get the medical assistance that they need so that they can in turn feel well and be healthy and perform well in school. I often will get a phone call back to thank me for helping them connect to those resources. Because they truly feel that it's made a difference in their lives.

Steve Goldstein:
Here now to talk about expanding efforts to reach out to families who might qualify for access and kids care are Representative Kirk Adams and Dana Naimark of the Children's Action Alliance. Both of you welcome.

Dana Naimark: Thanks Steve.

Kirk Adams:
Thank you.

Steve Goldstein:
Dana what happened to the bill in the Legislature that would have allowed the state to contract in order to get the word out in schools?

Dana Naimark:
The bill was heard and adopted in the Senate Health Committee and now it's stuck in the process along with other bills. But we believe the issue is very much alive and it's being discussed by lawmakers. They're working out the budget and other issues.

Steve Goldstein:
Do you anticipate a chance for this specific bill being revived or will it look different?

Dana Naimark:
I think the bill will be revived in some form or included into the budget. The real key is that Legislature make a positive statement that they would like outreach to happen, that they want children to be enrolled in kids care to have healthcare coverage, to be healthy, to be ready to learn, to be able to succeed. And the other key is that we have some public funding devoted to this. There have been private efforts at outreach that have been very successful but they stop and start. They come and go depending on when the private funding can be scraped together. We really need some public funding to sustain the efforts and make outreach as effective as it can be.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk Adams your perspective on the public funding idea.

Kirk Adams:
Certainly that is something that should be considered in the budget process in terms of -- first of all you have to decide what type of outreach activities you're going to be funding. What does the statute allow for now? What is the goal? That's when you start making your funding priorities.

Steve Goldstein:
Did you have opposition personally to this idea of lifting this gag rule?

Kirk Adams:
Well, I think to characterize it as a gag rule is a little bit of a mischaracterization. Because the current statute does provide for the opportunities for schools to conduct outreach activities. What it prohibits is the schools from actually contracting with the school districts. However, in recent years that has been I believe interpreted very, very conservatively by the administration. And so perhaps some clarifying language that allows them to conduct outreach activities through the schools in the form of brochures or fliers, letting parents know about these programs. Perhaps that type of language change would be appropriate. But I don't think it would be appropriate to allow access to actually contract with school districts for access-related activities.

Steve Goldstein:
Dana, I hesitate to ask you in an ideal world, but in an ideal world how much funding would you want for a program like this?

Dana Naimark:
You don't need a lot of funding for the outreach itself. Common sense activities. Distribution of fliers and radio ads, work at community groups and health fairs. You do need the funding to provide the healthcare coverage for the kids who come in throughout outreach. That's something we think should be a priority in the budget both in this year and in coming years.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk, what's your response to that?

Kirk Adams:
We certainly do need to plan for enrollment growth in excess. And each budget cycle the governor puts forward her proposal relative to how many children she thinks will enroll in the plan. G.L.B.C does the exact same thing. Then there's sort of a negotiated agreement on what that actual enrollment growth will be. That's the process we're in right now. But I do believe that enrollment growth will be covered in this budget.

Dana Naimark:
Financially, Steve, one of the great things about kids care and access is we get federal matching funds. So for every state dollar we put in we get either $2 or $3 depending on the child in federal funds. So it's very cost effective for Arizona. We get such a benefit from kids being healthy, from families being stronger, from parents not having to miss work when their kids are sick. So it's a great payoff.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk?

Kirk Adams:
Let me just make I think a broader distinction here I think is important. Our schools are design to educate our children. And they're not designed to be centers for access, if you will. That's why the Legislature originally put this prohibition for contracting. But at the same time they recognized that we needed to be able to provide parents and children information relative to these programs that are available to them. And I think that was the balance that was trying to be -- attempted to be reached, anyway, in the current statute. And I think with some clarifying language we can reach many of the goals that Dana is addressing right now without stepping over the bounds of actually allowing access or schools to become access-related centers.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk, we are talking about health insurance for kids. That's a tough issue to be against in any way. And I wonder if because of that there will be momentum for some sort of effort in that sense. I suppose people don't want to be on the record of voting against healthcare for kids.

Kirk Adams:
Well, I certainly am not on the record as opposing healthcare for kids. That's not what this particular so-called gag rule is about. It's about what is the proper role between access and the school districts. And we believe that that proper role is to conduct outreach activities, but it's not to provide contracted services into the schools themselves. So that's the issue here. The Legislature is going to fully fund the enrollment growth. That will be an agreed-upon amount of dollars between the governor and Legislature. So that's not really the issue relative to the gag rule.

Dana Naimark:
And I think the key issue is moving forward. We have 250,000 kids who are not covered with healthcare coverage right now. And Arizona voters think that's too many. They want the Legislature to do more. A recent poll of registered voters showed that 8 out of 10 said that covering more kids with healthcare coverage should be a high priority for the Legislature this year. So I think the real key is what is our Legislature going to do with their policy decisions, with their budget decisions to move us forward so that more kids have health coverage.

Steve Goldstein:
Do you feel like there's momentum for that, Dana, from people you've spoken to?

Dana Naimark:
I do. There's a lot of support and a lot of interest a lot of enthusiasm. The details still remain to be worked out. And all the voters need to be involved in that and be e-mailing and calling their legislators to remind them it is a high priority and to make sure it doesn't slip through the cracks.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk as a small businessman I want to get your perspective just on the idea of more healthcare for dependents and for kids. How vital is that in our society that that is taken care of?

Kirk Adams:
Steve, it's absolutely critical that we get our handle around the healthcare crisis. And there's been a lot of us for years that have been trying to sound the bell about the healthcare crisis. And really, it comes down to I think everybody agrees on what the problem is. Where the disagreement comes in is how you solve the problem or how you begin to solve the problem. And the truth of the matter is, in Arizona we have to be realistic about this and understand that we can do a lot of things and we should do everything that we can do. But there's also a large federal responsibility when it comes to health insurance. So that doesn't excuse us from implementing policies. But the real question is, what kind of policies? Do we create policies that push people more towards government-run health insurance, or do we create policies that provide more opportunities in the private market place? That's where the disagreement, not whether or not people should have health insurance.

Steve Goldstein:
As a lawmaker does it make your job easier or difficult when everyone agrees there is a problem and then we're coming at it from different angles.

Kirk Adams:
You can't find common ground until you agree that there is a problem. In that sense I think that's where the common ground is. Is there a problem? We have over 1 million people uninsured in the state of Arizona. And we're a growing state. That number is only going to grow also. And so I believe it's an issue that we have to begin to address. And it's not just affordability. It's also portability. It's reaching out to those populations that currently don't have insurance and developing insurance products that are less expensive and provide them basic coverage. Those are the types of things that I believe we need to be focusing on to address the health insurance crisis.

Steve Goldstein:
Dana.

Dana Naimark:
The beauty of outreach for kids care is that it is very common sense. You don't have to create anything new through some very simple and straightforward efforts we can bring healthcare coverage to many thousands of kids who really need it.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk, finally very briefly, the governor in her state-of-the-state had wanted to increase coverage for kids care 300\% above the poverty level. Was that D.O.A. when that was introduced or did that ever have a chance?

Kirk Adams:
I think that was an overly aggressive statement. Number one, I don't know that the state budget can support right now that sort of incredible increase in the potential population on kids care. That's not to say that we don't have to address that population. But when you go to 300\% you're really reaching in right into the middle-class. One thing we don't want to do is move people off of private insurance on to the rolls of government insurance. Because in the long run that's going to be much more expensive for us.

Steve Goldstein:
Representative Kirk Adams, Dana Naimark from the Children's Action Alliance thanks very much to both of you.

Kirk Adams, Dana Naimark:
Thank you.

Steve Goldstein:
It is a technology that's impacting our lives more and more every day. By its very nature we can't see it directly. It's nanotechnology. Arizona is a place where nanotech research is growing. I'll talk to an Arizona State University professor about that. First Mike Sauceda tells us more about nanotech.

Mike Sauceda:
At Arizona State University nanotechnology research is an ongoing daily endeavor. But what is nanotechnology? It's technology on the very very small scale. A nanometer is 1 billionth of a meter. That makes a nanometer the size of 10 hydrogen atoms lined up in a row. Nanotech does affect your daily life but it's really something you can't see. It's in your life now. Much of the new computer technology now exists on a nanoscale. But it's a lot more than that nanotechnology also exists in the medical field. That's where a lot of research is occurring. Nanotechnology -- researchers are working to exploit those differences to our advantage. While the actual technology may be small, the impact is getting bigger and bigger especially in the economic realm. The National Science Foundation says the global market for nano materials should grow from 300 million last year to 1 trillion by 2015. At Arizona State University there are many programs dedicated to nanotech research.

Steve Goldstein:
Here now to talk more about nanotech is Steven Goodnick the Associate Vice-President for Research and the Director of the Institute for Nanoelectronics at A.S.U. Doctor Goodnick, good to have you here. Thank you.

Stephen Goodnick:
Thanks Steve.

Steve Goldstein:
Let's get a further definition of nanotechnology. People are hearing about it more and more. How small is a nanometer, for example?

Stephen Goodnick:
Nanotechnology refers to slide scales at the nanometer scale. A nanometer is 1 billionth of a meter. So just for comparison, a nanometer would be approximately the size of maybe 5 or 6 atoms put together.

Steve Goldstein:
We've heard about various films, trying to think about the Tom Cruise movie that mentioned nanotechnology. How long has it really been around?

Stephen Goodnick:
nanotechnology has actually been around thousands of years. It's just that we didn't know it. So stained glass has been used in church windows actually has nano particles in it that give off light and give the sort of resilient glow that stained glass has. So really it's been around for a long time. It's just that recently we've been able to control matter at that level, look at it and see it and be able to control things.

Steve Goldstein:
What are some of the different elements that come into effect when something becomes that small?

Stephen Goodnick:
The properties in materials change completely when you get down to that scale. In particular, materials like gold or silicon, when they form nanoparticles they change the properties so their optical and electronic properties change. You can use those changes in order to make new materials and new devices.

Steve Goldstein:
How much of nanotechnology involves what's organic and how much is inorganic?

Stephen Goodnick:
Well, it's really hard to make a distinction. You know biological systems are nanotechnology in a sense, proteins and D.N.A and all that are self-assembled objects that have formed at the nano scale. So really all of human life is an organic nano system is if you want to think about it at the molecular level. But in the semi-conductor industry for example that is responsible for the computer chips in our home computers and everything, the transistors that make of the individual components of that are nanoscale devices. They really have feature sizes that are approaching 1 nanometer.

Steve Goldstein:
So what are some of the obvious advantages of dealing with items that are that small?

Stephen Goodnick:
One thing for example in the semi-conductor industry making things smaller and smaller means you can make more and more of them. So you get a big increase in the number of individual sort of entities devices that you have. Of course that leads to improved performance and lower cost.

Steve Goldstein:
What are some of the things A.S.U. is doing with nanotechnology right now?

Stephen Goodnick:
A.S.U. has a number of different centers that are focused on nanotechnology. So at the Biodesign Institute, for example, we have a number of centers that are working on I will call it nano-biosciences and working on, for example, medicines that can be targeted by nanoparticles, looking at, for example, single molecules and using those for sensors. At the same time, there's other centers like the Arizona Institute for Nanoelectronics that looks at the use of nanotechnology to enable electronics and communications such as the issue I mentioned in the computer industry. And we also have a center for nanotechnology in society that actually looks at what are the effects of nanotechnology in society such as, for example, health or the growth of information technology. How does that affect society? They try to address some of those issues from a social science sort of perspective.

Steve Goldstein:
Now, A.S.U. recently hosted a conference related to nanotechnology. Were there some highlights you could give us from that?

Stephen Goodnick:
Well, we had a conference which had approximately 300 attendees from all over the world. We had two Nobel laureates that were there that talked about various aspects of nanoscience and we also had roundtable discussions on the effect of the economy on nanotechnology. Leaders from business that talked about what are going to be the next wave of inventions.

Steve Goldstein:
I think that's something people are fascinated by. They want to know from a practical matter how is money going to be made from nanotechnology? How much is this going to affect the U.S. and the world economy?

Stephen Goodnick:
Well, as the clip discussed, the present sort of market for nanotechnology materials is about 300 million. And it's anticipated that by 2015 it's going to be 1 to 2 trillion. So there's an enormous growth of sort of nanotechnology-enabled industries. And we look to Arizona to have an enormous growth in those in the information sciences and in the biosciences.

Steve Goldstein:
Do you anticipate that's something that the average person in Arizona will come in contact with in the next decade or so?

Stephen Goodnick:
Well, besides the impact on computers and cell phones and those sort of technologies, really I think what you're going to see is impacting the biosciences in medical, diagnostics and therapeutics. Hand-held diagnostic tools that are enabled by nanotechnology that allow doctors to make much more rapid and portable sort of devices for measuring what's going on in your body. At some point eventually if nanodevices get small enough then they may be implanted in your body and be able to report out on what's happening and lead to a lot of lifesaving sort of technology.

Steve Goldstein:
Doctor Stephen Goodnick thanks very much for joining us and talking about nanotechnology.

Stephen Goodnick:
Thank you.

Larry Lemmons:
Leaders in the State Legislature decide to appeal the Tucson judge's ruling in the English Language Learner funding controversy. And Hillary Clinton remains Arizona Democrats first choice for president in '08 but the race is tightening. The "Journalists Roundtable" Friday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

Steve Goldstein:
That is "Horizon" for Thursday night. I'm Steve Goldstein. Thanks for watching.

Nanotech


  • Arizona State University professor Steve Goodnick brings us up to date on the latest in nanotechnology, an emerging technology that takes place at the molecular level.
Guests:
  • Robert Meza - State Representative,Phoenix
  • Kirk Adams - State Representative
  • Steven Goodnick - Associate Vice-President for Research and Director of the Institute for Nanoelectronics, Arizona State University
Category: Science

View Transcript
Steve Goldstein:
Tonight on "Horizon," a bill that would use lottery funds to help the homeless is making progress at the state capitol. Also at the capitol, efforts to help schools tell parents about health care plans for the indigent. And we'll tell you about nanotechnology and how it's progressing in Arizona. All that coming up, on "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible through contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Steve Goldstein:
Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Steve Goldstein. The House Speaker and Senate President announced today that the Legislature will appeal a U.S. district judge's ruling in the English Language Learner case. The Legislature will ask a federal appeals court to overturn the decision by Tucson Judge Raner Collins. The lawsuit is over funding for programs to teach the approximately 150,000 E.L.L. students. A human smuggling ring that was using travel agencies to arrange flights for illegal immigrants has been broken up. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard says 14 people who worked in the travel agencies have been arrested. The six valley travel agencies are accused of moving 6800 people since 2005. Also two people were arrested for running drop houses where the illegal aliens were held until they were transported. A plan to use lottery money to help Arizona's homeless population passed out of the Senate Health Committee today. An amendment to House Bill 2608 would send up to $5 million a year from the lottery fund to the Department of Economic Security. D.E.S. would then provide grants to nonprofit groups that serve the homeless. Here to tell us more is the bill sponsor State Representative Robert Meza of Phoenix. Welcome.

Robert Meza:
Thank you Steve. Thank you for having me.

Steve Goldstein:
Robert let's talk about what this bill originally had. It was focused on dentistry. How did it change?

Robert Meza:
Absolutely. It changed because the Dental Commission didn't want the bill to move forward. It passed out of the House 56-4. They decided to not have the bill move forward. It was my bill originally so I said why don't we use it as a bill as a striker in the Senate for homelessness. Now prior to that I was working a group of activists, some lawmakers, some policy wonks, and faith-based groups to work on homelessness. They came to me and said can we use your bill as a striker to move it forward, to fund $5 million for homelessness in Arizona? I said absolutely.

Steve Goldstein:
How important is additional funding for the homeless? How serious is that problem?

Robert Meza:
It's a very serious issue. Currently we have about 12,000 families that are homeless, men, women and children. A big chunk of that are veterans from the Vietnam War or who currently who served in Iraq. So throughout the state we're feeling the heat and the pressure. Faith-based groups, nonprofits have come forward and said, Robert, we need to move the agenda on homelessness. Since 2000, we've been receiving $1 million per year since 2000. We want to up the ante to 5 million. Currently in Nevada in 2005, Nevada appropriated $9 million to tackle the issue of homelessness. In 2007 they'll appropriate $20 million for the next two years. Nevada and Arizona have something in common. They have explosion in growth, a very fast-growing population. So we need to set up the proper infrastructure to move Arizona forward in this arena.

Steve Goldstein:
We assume this problem will only get worse?

Robert Meza:
If we don't address it. If we don't address it in this session with the governor, the speaker and the Senate president it will get worse. We feel a tidal wave coming. Actually all these groups have come together and they said, please do something about the situation. They have taken a great leadership role, the nonprofits and the faith-based groups and the municipalities, the counties and the cities. They have done their responsibility. And they have great leadership skills in tackling this issue. They have come to us and said can you partner with us? You as a state, can you partner with us to handle this situation?

Steve Goldstein:
The $5 million in funding, will that affect what the lottery funds currently?

Robert Meza:
No, it will not affect the lottery funds. Visualize this, visualize money, first of all 41 million goes to the general fund from the lottery, from the revenues. Then there's a group of buckets that get funded first. The Heritage Fund, the Transient Fund, the County Assistant Fund. Those get funded first. The last bucket to get funded is homelessness. If there's money left over, homelessness can receive up to $5 million for transitional housing and emergency services. Anything above the 5 million goes back into the General Fund.

Steve Goldstein:
I'd like to talk a little bit about the politics of this. As a Democrat in a House that is still led by Republicans, how did you advance this bill? Did you have Republican support?

Robert Meza:
I did have Republican support. Carolyn Allen who heard the bill. She is passionate about the issue and so is Senator Barbara Left. Also I try to transcend boundaries. That's the most important thing being at the Legislature to work with both parties. Because homelessness affects all socioeconomic people of all ethnicities, all religions. It's an issue that we all have to worry about in Arizona. If we work as a team and as a group we can handle the issue.

Steve Goldstein:
I wonder what you'd say to people who have a negative view of the homeless. Certain perceptions about them. What can this kind of help change? The perception of the homeless and the reality of their lives?

Robert Meza:
It's self-sufficient. You want to make people self-sufficient. Most people want to be self-sufficient and self-reliant. These programs that will be funded move in that direction and focus people on self-reliance and self-sufficiency. So I think it is the most important thing. The perception is you can't have a bad perception. You're dealing with a human being. You're dealing with humanity on this issue.

Steve Goldstein:
What's next for your bill? What sort of progress will be made?

Robert Meza:
I think the bill what's going to happen the tidal wave is coming. The activists, policy wonks, the mayors are going to get involved throughout the state on this bill. And I think we're going to move in the direction of getting moneys appropriated that's going to probably run through appropriation in the budget package.

Steve Goldstein:
Representative Robert Meza, thanks very much.

Robert Meza:
Thank you.

Steve Goldstein:
Right now schools can tell parents about healthcare plans for poor but the state can't contract with any organization to provide information about access or kids care through schools. A bill to change that is stalled but there are efforts to get money in the state budget to reach 100,000 kids who now qualify for health insurance but are not on the plans. Mike Sauceda tells us how one school currently conducts outreach for kids care and access.

Mike Sauceda:
This middle school in Tempe is where Jacqueline Favaro applies her trade as a social worker helping families of kids connect with social services. That includes helping families apply for healthcare insurance for the indigent, either access or kids care.

Jacqueline Favaro: When I connect with families, I assess their need. I ask the questions. I ask, you know, if they have health insurance. And if they do not I ask about some of their resources and ask about their interest in applying for access or kids care. And I assess based on the information that they provide me, which would be, you know, which would they qualify for. And based on that, I will either give them the information so that they can access the application, or I will send them an application or meet with them to help them complete the application.

Mike Sauceda: Favaro says there are no restrictions on the school in communicating information about access or kids care to families. And sometimes they need help with the basics.

Jacqueline Favaro:
For example, what I find oftentimes is that kids care, while it's easy to complete and easy to obtain, you could easily obtain an application through internet, many of our families may not have access to internet. So then my role is to perhaps download an application and send it to them.

Mike Sauceda:
There is a benefit to the school in letting parents know about the healthcare plans.

Jacqueline Favaro:
The benefits to the schools is that when children are healthy and feeling well, they perform better in school. And so the benefit is that when a child is not feeling well, whether they have a toothache or whether they need a vision exam, or whether we suspect that they are not hearing well, that there are those resources to connect them and get the medical assistance that they need so that they can in turn feel well and be healthy and perform well in school. I often will get a phone call back to thank me for helping them connect to those resources. Because they truly feel that it's made a difference in their lives.

Steve Goldstein:
Here now to talk about expanding efforts to reach out to families who might qualify for access and kids care are Representative Kirk Adams and Dana Naimark of the Children's Action Alliance. Both of you welcome.

Dana Naimark: Thanks Steve.

Kirk Adams:
Thank you.

Steve Goldstein:
Dana what happened to the bill in the Legislature that would have allowed the state to contract in order to get the word out in schools?

Dana Naimark:
The bill was heard and adopted in the Senate Health Committee and now it's stuck in the process along with other bills. But we believe the issue is very much alive and it's being discussed by lawmakers. They're working out the budget and other issues.

Steve Goldstein:
Do you anticipate a chance for this specific bill being revived or will it look different?

Dana Naimark:
I think the bill will be revived in some form or included into the budget. The real key is that Legislature make a positive statement that they would like outreach to happen, that they want children to be enrolled in kids care to have healthcare coverage, to be healthy, to be ready to learn, to be able to succeed. And the other key is that we have some public funding devoted to this. There have been private efforts at outreach that have been very successful but they stop and start. They come and go depending on when the private funding can be scraped together. We really need some public funding to sustain the efforts and make outreach as effective as it can be.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk Adams your perspective on the public funding idea.

Kirk Adams:
Certainly that is something that should be considered in the budget process in terms of -- first of all you have to decide what type of outreach activities you're going to be funding. What does the statute allow for now? What is the goal? That's when you start making your funding priorities.

Steve Goldstein:
Did you have opposition personally to this idea of lifting this gag rule?

Kirk Adams:
Well, I think to characterize it as a gag rule is a little bit of a mischaracterization. Because the current statute does provide for the opportunities for schools to conduct outreach activities. What it prohibits is the schools from actually contracting with the school districts. However, in recent years that has been I believe interpreted very, very conservatively by the administration. And so perhaps some clarifying language that allows them to conduct outreach activities through the schools in the form of brochures or fliers, letting parents know about these programs. Perhaps that type of language change would be appropriate. But I don't think it would be appropriate to allow access to actually contract with school districts for access-related activities.

Steve Goldstein:
Dana, I hesitate to ask you in an ideal world, but in an ideal world how much funding would you want for a program like this?

Dana Naimark:
You don't need a lot of funding for the outreach itself. Common sense activities. Distribution of fliers and radio ads, work at community groups and health fairs. You do need the funding to provide the healthcare coverage for the kids who come in throughout outreach. That's something we think should be a priority in the budget both in this year and in coming years.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk, what's your response to that?

Kirk Adams:
We certainly do need to plan for enrollment growth in excess. And each budget cycle the governor puts forward her proposal relative to how many children she thinks will enroll in the plan. G.L.B.C does the exact same thing. Then there's sort of a negotiated agreement on what that actual enrollment growth will be. That's the process we're in right now. But I do believe that enrollment growth will be covered in this budget.

Dana Naimark:
Financially, Steve, one of the great things about kids care and access is we get federal matching funds. So for every state dollar we put in we get either $2 or $3 depending on the child in federal funds. So it's very cost effective for Arizona. We get such a benefit from kids being healthy, from families being stronger, from parents not having to miss work when their kids are sick. So it's a great payoff.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk?

Kirk Adams:
Let me just make I think a broader distinction here I think is important. Our schools are design to educate our children. And they're not designed to be centers for access, if you will. That's why the Legislature originally put this prohibition for contracting. But at the same time they recognized that we needed to be able to provide parents and children information relative to these programs that are available to them. And I think that was the balance that was trying to be -- attempted to be reached, anyway, in the current statute. And I think with some clarifying language we can reach many of the goals that Dana is addressing right now without stepping over the bounds of actually allowing access or schools to become access-related centers.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk, we are talking about health insurance for kids. That's a tough issue to be against in any way. And I wonder if because of that there will be momentum for some sort of effort in that sense. I suppose people don't want to be on the record of voting against healthcare for kids.

Kirk Adams:
Well, I certainly am not on the record as opposing healthcare for kids. That's not what this particular so-called gag rule is about. It's about what is the proper role between access and the school districts. And we believe that that proper role is to conduct outreach activities, but it's not to provide contracted services into the schools themselves. So that's the issue here. The Legislature is going to fully fund the enrollment growth. That will be an agreed-upon amount of dollars between the governor and Legislature. So that's not really the issue relative to the gag rule.

Dana Naimark:
And I think the key issue is moving forward. We have 250,000 kids who are not covered with healthcare coverage right now. And Arizona voters think that's too many. They want the Legislature to do more. A recent poll of registered voters showed that 8 out of 10 said that covering more kids with healthcare coverage should be a high priority for the Legislature this year. So I think the real key is what is our Legislature going to do with their policy decisions, with their budget decisions to move us forward so that more kids have health coverage.

Steve Goldstein:
Do you feel like there's momentum for that, Dana, from people you've spoken to?

Dana Naimark:
I do. There's a lot of support and a lot of interest a lot of enthusiasm. The details still remain to be worked out. And all the voters need to be involved in that and be e-mailing and calling their legislators to remind them it is a high priority and to make sure it doesn't slip through the cracks.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk as a small businessman I want to get your perspective just on the idea of more healthcare for dependents and for kids. How vital is that in our society that that is taken care of?

Kirk Adams:
Steve, it's absolutely critical that we get our handle around the healthcare crisis. And there's been a lot of us for years that have been trying to sound the bell about the healthcare crisis. And really, it comes down to I think everybody agrees on what the problem is. Where the disagreement comes in is how you solve the problem or how you begin to solve the problem. And the truth of the matter is, in Arizona we have to be realistic about this and understand that we can do a lot of things and we should do everything that we can do. But there's also a large federal responsibility when it comes to health insurance. So that doesn't excuse us from implementing policies. But the real question is, what kind of policies? Do we create policies that push people more towards government-run health insurance, or do we create policies that provide more opportunities in the private market place? That's where the disagreement, not whether or not people should have health insurance.

Steve Goldstein:
As a lawmaker does it make your job easier or difficult when everyone agrees there is a problem and then we're coming at it from different angles.

Kirk Adams:
You can't find common ground until you agree that there is a problem. In that sense I think that's where the common ground is. Is there a problem? We have over 1 million people uninsured in the state of Arizona. And we're a growing state. That number is only going to grow also. And so I believe it's an issue that we have to begin to address. And it's not just affordability. It's also portability. It's reaching out to those populations that currently don't have insurance and developing insurance products that are less expensive and provide them basic coverage. Those are the types of things that I believe we need to be focusing on to address the health insurance crisis.

Steve Goldstein:
Dana.

Dana Naimark:
The beauty of outreach for kids care is that it is very common sense. You don't have to create anything new through some very simple and straightforward efforts we can bring healthcare coverage to many thousands of kids who really need it.

Steve Goldstein:
Kirk, finally very briefly, the governor in her state-of-the-state had wanted to increase coverage for kids care 300\% above the poverty level. Was that D.O.A. when that was introduced or did that ever have a chance?

Kirk Adams:
I think that was an overly aggressive statement. Number one, I don't know that the state budget can support right now that sort of incredible increase in the potential population on kids care. That's not to say that we don't have to address that population. But when you go to 300\% you're really reaching in right into the middle-class. One thing we don't want to do is move people off of private insurance on to the rolls of government insurance. Because in the long run that's going to be much more expensive for us.

Steve Goldstein:
Representative Kirk Adams, Dana Naimark from the Children's Action Alliance thanks very much to both of you.

Kirk Adams, Dana Naimark:
Thank you.

Steve Goldstein:
It is a technology that's impacting our lives more and more every day. By its very nature we can't see it directly. It's nanotechnology. Arizona is a place where nanotech research is growing. I'll talk to an Arizona State University professor about that. First Mike Sauceda tells us more about nanotech.

Mike Sauceda:
At Arizona State University nanotechnology research is an ongoing daily endeavor. But what is nanotechnology? It's technology on the very very small scale. A nanometer is 1 billionth of a meter. That makes a nanometer the size of 10 hydrogen atoms lined up in a row. Nanotech does affect your daily life but it's really something you can't see. It's in your life now. Much of the new computer technology now exists on a nanoscale. But it's a lot more than that nanotechnology also exists in the medical field. That's where a lot of research is occurring. Nanotechnology -- researchers are working to exploit those differences to our advantage. While the actual technology may be small, the impact is getting bigger and bigger especially in the economic realm. The National Science Foundation says the global market for nano materials should grow from 300 million last year to 1 trillion by 2015. At Arizona State University there are many programs dedicated to nanotech research.

Steve Goldstein:
Here now to talk more about nanotech is Steven Goodnick the Associate Vice-President for Research and the Director of the Institute for Nanoelectronics at A.S.U. Doctor Goodnick, good to have you here. Thank you.

Stephen Goodnick:
Thanks Steve.

Steve Goldstein:
Let's get a further definition of nanotechnology. People are hearing about it more and more. How small is a nanometer, for example?

Stephen Goodnick:
Nanotechnology refers to slide scales at the nanometer scale. A nanometer is 1 billionth of a meter. So just for comparison, a nanometer would be approximately the size of maybe 5 or 6 atoms put together.

Steve Goldstein:
We've heard about various films, trying to think about the Tom Cruise movie that mentioned nanotechnology. How long has it really been around?

Stephen Goodnick:
nanotechnology has actually been around thousands of years. It's just that we didn't know it. So stained glass has been used in church windows actually has nano particles in it that give off light and give the sort of resilient glow that stained glass has. So really it's been around for a long time. It's just that recently we've been able to control matter at that level, look at it and see it and be able to control things.

Steve Goldstein:
What are some of the different elements that come into effect when something becomes that small?

Stephen Goodnick:
The properties in materials change completely when you get down to that scale. In particular, materials like gold or silicon, when they form nanoparticles they change the properties so their optical and electronic properties change. You can use those changes in order to make new materials and new devices.

Steve Goldstein:
How much of nanotechnology involves what's organic and how much is inorganic?

Stephen Goodnick:
Well, it's really hard to make a distinction. You know biological systems are nanotechnology in a sense, proteins and D.N.A and all that are self-assembled objects that have formed at the nano scale. So really all of human life is an organic nano system is if you want to think about it at the molecular level. But in the semi-conductor industry for example that is responsible for the computer chips in our home computers and everything, the transistors that make of the individual components of that are nanoscale devices. They really have feature sizes that are approaching 1 nanometer.

Steve Goldstein:
So what are some of the obvious advantages of dealing with items that are that small?

Stephen Goodnick:
One thing for example in the semi-conductor industry making things smaller and smaller means you can make more and more of them. So you get a big increase in the number of individual sort of entities devices that you have. Of course that leads to improved performance and lower cost.

Steve Goldstein:
What are some of the things A.S.U. is doing with nanotechnology right now?

Stephen Goodnick:
A.S.U. has a number of different centers that are focused on nanotechnology. So at the Biodesign Institute, for example, we have a number of centers that are working on I will call it nano-biosciences and working on, for example, medicines that can be targeted by nanoparticles, looking at, for example, single molecules and using those for sensors. At the same time, there's other centers like the Arizona Institute for Nanoelectronics that looks at the use of nanotechnology to enable electronics and communications such as the issue I mentioned in the computer industry. And we also have a center for nanotechnology in society that actually looks at what are the effects of nanotechnology in society such as, for example, health or the growth of information technology. How does that affect society? They try to address some of those issues from a social science sort of perspective.

Steve Goldstein:
Now, A.S.U. recently hosted a conference related to nanotechnology. Were there some highlights you could give us from that?

Stephen Goodnick:
Well, we had a conference which had approximately 300 attendees from all over the world. We had two Nobel laureates that were there that talked about various aspects of nanoscience and we also had roundtable discussions on the effect of the economy on nanotechnology. Leaders from business that talked about what are going to be the next wave of inventions.

Steve Goldstein:
I think that's something people are fascinated by. They want to know from a practical matter how is money going to be made from nanotechnology? How much is this going to affect the U.S. and the world economy?

Stephen Goodnick:
Well, as the clip discussed, the present sort of market for nanotechnology materials is about 300 million. And it's anticipated that by 2015 it's going to be 1 to 2 trillion. So there's an enormous growth of sort of nanotechnology-enabled industries. And we look to Arizona to have an enormous growth in those in the information sciences and in the biosciences.

Steve Goldstein:
Do you anticipate that's something that the average person in Arizona will come in contact with in the next decade or so?

Stephen Goodnick:
Well, besides the impact on computers and cell phones and those sort of technologies, really I think what you're going to see is impacting the biosciences in medical, diagnostics and therapeutics. Hand-held diagnostic tools that are enabled by nanotechnology that allow doctors to make much more rapid and portable sort of devices for measuring what's going on in your body. At some point eventually if nanodevices get small enough then they may be implanted in your body and be able to report out on what's happening and lead to a lot of lifesaving sort of technology.

Steve Goldstein:
Doctor Stephen Goodnick thanks very much for joining us and talking about nanotechnology.

Stephen Goodnick:
Thank you.

Larry Lemmons:
Leaders in the State Legislature decide to appeal the Tucson judge's ruling in the English Language Learner funding controversy. And Hillary Clinton remains Arizona Democrats first choice for president in '08 but the race is tightening. The "Journalists Roundtable" Friday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

Steve Goldstein:
That is "Horizon" for Thursday night. I'm Steve Goldstein. Thanks for watching.

What's on?

Content Partner:

  About KAET Contact Support Legal Follow Us  
  About Eight
Mission/Impact
History
Site Map
Pressroom
Contact Us
Sign up for e-news
Pledge to Eight
Donate Monthly
Volunteer
Other ways to support
FCC Public Files
Privacy Policy
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Google+
Pinterest
 

Need help accessing? Contact disabilityaccess@asu.edu

Eight is a member-supported service of Arizona State University    Copyright Arizona Board of Regents