Some (tentatively) good news from the Capitol today.

14 Jan 2013 09:58 pm
Posted by: Donna

Governor Jan Brewer surprised the audience of her State of the State speech this afternoon by calling for expanding Arizona’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Well, it’s not really so shocking considering how everyone from the Chamber of Commerce to the hospitals to the Children’s Action Alliance has been begging her to do it. But 10 other GOP governors have refused the expansion so it was reasonable to fear that Brewer would join them, especially since the Governor opted out of creating a state-based health insurance exchange.


Brewer placed her decision on Medicaid in the context of the main economic development theme of her speech. She told lawmakers that she did not want to forfeit the federal funds to other states that have agreed to expansion, singling out such neighboring states as California and Colorado. She said that the Medicaid expansion, which she described as “just slightly beyond” what voters had previously approved, would insert $2 billion into the Arizona economy.

She also promoted Arizona’s Medicaid expansion plan as “the gold standard” for the nation.

Interesting how Brewer didn’t mention that the Republican governors of New Mexico and Nevada opted into the Medicaid expansion, but there’s a good chance that had an influence as well. Without the expansion, Arizona would be nearly surrounded by states accepting the generous federal funding (the exception is Utah, where the hospital lobby has a weirdly fervent attachment to “free market solutions”).

It would have been great had Brewer also put her pro-Medicaid stance in a pro-life context, since making health care available to the hundreds of thousands of Arizonan adults and children who don’t currently have it would, you know, save a lot of people’s lives. Democrats can certainly seize that moral high ground and maybe nudge some Republican legislators into doing the right thing. So, too, can certain groups invested in *ahem* the “sanctity of life”.


  1. Comment by Old Economy Steve on January 15, 2013 10:19 am

    As a conservative I say this makes sense, since the majority of voting Americans supported President Obama’s dastardly plans to 100% socialize the entire country.

  2. Comment by Timmys Cat on January 15, 2013 10:37 am

    Mmmmm, Montini has the same mind set as I do on this.
    Lots of fluffy tuffy words, but knowing her history this cynical cat thinks this is all buffing up her image before she hits the lecture circuit.
    “See, she’s doesn’t seem as wingnut as she really is!”
    Letting the Feds pay for most of what she’s allowed to be cut to the bone under her watch is hardly a stance.
    Fighting the Goopers in the lege in the past for keeping services would have been a truer show of character.
    I think this shows she’s not going to fight for another term and wants to exit under a cloud of nicey.
    However, for the sake of the State, IF, the yayhoos go along with this, it really would be a very good and much needed thing for unnecessarily suffering Arizonans.

  3. Comment by Mike Slater on January 15, 2013 12:26 pm

    I doubt Brewers plan will get through the Legislature.

  4. Comment by Donna on January 15, 2013 9:19 pm

    I don’t. In case you hadn’t noticed, 8 more Dems were elected to the Lege. No longer a veto-proof majority. All we need is a few Rs to go along and your worst nightmare, low income people getting health care, happens.

  5. Comment by Mike Slater on January 16, 2013 11:42 am

    It won’t be the Rs in my district in Sun City.

  6. Comment by Suzanne on January 18, 2013 12:30 pm

    I left a comment for Cathy Herrod over at azpolicy, she deleted it. I guess she is not open to opposing opinion.

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