State Capitol News
2:04 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Governor Brewer Tries To Round Up Support For Medicaid Expansion

Governor Jan Brewer is trying to round up legislative support for her plan to expand Medicaid. But Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports many Republicans remain unconvinced.

Governor Brewer said while she never liked the Affordable Care Act, the state can get $1.6 billion a year from Washington to care for the needy, with the state's $250 million cost paid by hospitals. Brewer said lawmakers will come around when they see the financial benefits. "They're a smart group of people I get to work with every day. And they can do the math. Why would they cut off their nose to hurt their face. It just doesn't make any sense," the governor said.

But Representative John Kavanagh said this isn't free money. He said, "we're all still citizens of the U.S. And the federal government is going bankrupt with these runaway entitlements. $17 trillion national debt. I'm not about to pass on debt to my grandchild."

Brewer said her plan will have a provision to have the expanded care self destruct if the federal money dries up. But House Speaker Andy Tobin said lawmakers do not want to be in the uncomfortable position of ending free care for some. "Having been here and made these cuts, I get it," Tobin said. "Somebody getting kicked out of the hospital is different than somebody not getting on in the first place."