Posted by: Donna
Let me just come right out and say something that you will rarely, if ever, hear me say: I like the way Governor Brewer and the Chamber of Commerce are handling something. I am speaking of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, which the Governor and business leaders have not only come out in favor of, but are actively campaigning to get passed. What is particularly praiseworthy about their efforts is that they’re no longer leading with the economic case for expansion – billions of federal dollars and thousands of health care jobs. They’re now making a compelling moral case for the expansion.
Brewer and her supporters, led by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and the health-care industry, are now turning their attention toward the human impact. An informational legislative hearing next week is expected to include testimony from people with serious illnesses who would lose their Medicaid coverage if the Legislature rejected the governor’s proposal.
The central question for lawmakers will be: “Your career or their lives?”
“They will be faced with the consequences of a life-or-death decision,” said Chuck Coughlin, a key Brewer adviser and leader in the pro-expansion campaign. “Their humanistic instincts will prevail over their political instincts.”
Unlike Coughlin, I’m cynical (and observant) enough to predict that a lot of conservatives will be unmoved (and possibly confused) by the “pro-life” argument since it doesn’t involve weeping over fetuses and hassling women trying to access legal health care services. But the humanistic (nice phrasing, Chuck!) appeal does resonate with the general public. Arizona voters expanded Medicaid for low income residents over a decade ago and there’s no reason to believe they’ve turned against providing our poorest and most vulnerable residents with health care. Supporters of the expansion are (smartly) marshaling health care providers and real people who would be harmed by denying it to put a human face on the issue. And honestly, I don’t care what motivations Republicans who support the expansion may have for doing so. Good policy outcomes are what matters and they are on the right side of this issue.
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