Gov. Brewer pushes to expand Medicaid during her visit to Yuma

Politics

Gov. Brewer pushes to expand Medicaid during her visit to Yuma

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YUMA, AZ - Arizona Governor Jan Brewer visited Yuma Thursday to deliver the State of the State Address at Arizona Western College.

Once an opponent of the so-called "Obamacare" health law, the governor is now proposing an expansion to the state's Medicaid program. Governor Brewer's speech lasted about 45 minutes.

Brewer briefly spoke about her plans to increase funding for schools and child protective services while reducing sales taxes for small businesses. But her main focus was to promote the expansion of the state's Medicaid program.

"Nor can we simply wag our finger at the federal government," said Brewer. "Trust me, I tried that once."  

Governor Brewer reminded a full house at Arizona Western Colleg, mostly supporters, of her famous finger pointing at President Obama last year.

But now the governor says she will push for state lawmakers to support her proposal to expand Medicaid, a key component of President Obama's health care reform law.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government will pay the full cost of covering 57,000 newly eligible individuals from 2014 to 2016.

"Try as we might, the law was upheld by the United States Supreme Court. The President was re-elected and his party controls the United States Senate," said Brewer. "In short, the Affordable Care Act isn't going anywhere, at least not for the time being."

Governor Brewer says expanding Medicaid means other states will not claim the federal dollars allocated to Arizona.

As a result, Arizona will save general fund dollars to create more jobs and insert $2 billion into the economy.

"Under the current system, these costs are passed along to Arizona's families. Healthcare premiums are raised year after year to account for expenses secured by our hospitals as they provide care to the uninsured," said Brewer. "This amounts to a hidden tax, estimated at nearly $2,000 per year per family."

Now the question remains, will she gain support from republican lawmakers who are against Obamacare.

During her state of the state, she called on voters to contact their state representative to tell them to support her proposal.

State Senator Don Shooter of Yuma says he wants to see more numbers before he makes a final decision on whether or not he'll vote in favor of the governor's proposal to expand Medicaid.

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