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home : latest news : state December 17, 2014

3/14/2013 6:00:00 AM
Brewer uses Mohave County stop for Medicaid push
Gov. Jan Brewer campaigned for her Medicaid legislation in Mohave County Wednesday, arguing that opposing it simply because the Affordable Care Act is involved isn’t good for the state.RODNEY HAAS/Miner
Gov. Jan Brewer campaigned for her Medicaid legislation in Mohave County Wednesday, arguing that opposing it simply because the Affordable Care Act is involved isn’t good for the state.

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Gov. Jan Brewer used her visit to Mohave County Wednesday to push back at critics of her plan to expand Arizona's Medicaid program.

One of the points of her speech was the expansion of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state's Medicaid program, using $2 billion offered by the federal government through the Affordable Care Act.

Brewer said she fought that legislation on every level that she could, but President Barack Obama was re-elected and the Democrats control the U.S. Senate.

"The Affordable Care Act is not going anywhere, at least for the time being," Brewer told a crowd of more than 100 people at the Mohave County Administration Building.

Governors across the nation have wavered over whether to accept federal dollars to expand their Medicaid programs.

Some have refused because of its connection with the Affordable Care Act. Others, including some Republican governors, such as Brewer, have decided that not taking the money would hurt their states by sending some of their tax dollars to cover other states that did take the offer.

Not everyone at the Arizona Legislature supports Brewer's plan. According to the Associated Press, Rep. Carl Seel of Phoenix has introduced a bill that would block her plan.

Taking the $2 billion offered by the federal government to expand AHCCCS will inject new revenue into the state, help save and create new jobs, protect rural hospitals and help the working poor who may not have health care coverage, Brewer said.

"When a hospital is forced to close its doors in Phoenix, it is one hospital in a large city," she said. "When a rural hospital is forced to close its doors, that may be the only source of healthcare for a community."

Brewer said 60,000 people currently on AHCCCS could lose their coverage in January if her plan to expand the program is not approved by the Legislature.

"It could be a tremendous financial blow to rural hospitals. Kingman Regional Medical Center could see a $10 million decrease in its funding," she said.

In an interview with the Miner after her speech, Brewer said she does not support the Affordable Care Act.

"This is only one small part of the Affordable Care Act and it's not that much different from what voters approved twice years ago," she said, referring to two voter initiatives that passed in the last 10 years that expanded AHCCCS beyond federal requirements for Medicaid.

"If people would just sit and do the numbers," Brewer said, referring to her plan to expand AHCCCS. Her plan leverages the $2 billion offered by the federal government with a tax on hospitals.

"Not one penny comes out of the general fund," she said.

If the amount of federal money coming in drops below 80 percent of what the state was promised, then the state will reconsider the federal government's offer, Brewer said.

"We will come back to the table, like adults. That's what elected officials do. When something changes, we come back to the table," Brewer said. "I won't allow Obamacare to become a bait and switch."

A sudden influx of people joining the AHCCCS rolls, such as through some form of immigration reform, wouldn't make a difference, she said.

"They're already showing up at our hospitals and getting uncompensated care," Brewer said.

She wasn't sure what effect the federal sequestration would have on the state.

"We could see some possible cuts at (the Department of Economic Security), in education and in defense industries," Brewer said.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

$2 billion fed. funds, wow how money talks!
Gov. Brewer, you make it seem as though Arizona was twisted into this situation with no way out because ob won and that's it. Why are other state's refusing to let ob and his cronies twist their arms? How far does anyone believe $2 billion will go and what should the state do when it receives $0.00 fed funds for expanded medicaid??
Honestly Governor Brewer, I thought you were tougher than this!!

Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Article comment by: Uncle Anson

Amazing that we are willing to give in to the Govt over money this time but that step is taken and I guess the next will be equally rationalized....ask the Romans about Ceasar...or the Huns about Attilla...or the Italians about Musallini...or the Germans about Hitler...or the Jews about the Germans....PolPat come to mind...Minh and the vietnamese...the Americans about the Obama days...but that was 200 years ago...things are different today...sure glad I live now....well exept for unemployment and a pesky economic crisis.

Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Article comment by: duke's brother

Two BILLION DOLLARS, sort of hard to ignore isn't it?

Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Article comment by: Joe Schmo

I'm not normally a Jan Brewer fan. Overall she has not been a good governor for Arizona particularly in the area of immigration and her lack of respect for the president. Pointing her finger in his face was unforgivable. However, on this issue she is finally facing reality. Any governor who refuses this deal from the Feds to placate the tea party is bad at politics and bad at policy. Brewer has at least redeemed herself somewhat on this issue.

Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Article comment by: May Be Hope For Common Sense After All

First thing I noticed was that in a county of 200,000 only 100 people showed up to listen to the governor. Several conclusions can be offered. People just don't respect Gov Brewer. People were turned off by her refusal to take questions. The tide has turned and her kind are becoming more and more marginalized.

"They're already showing up at our hospitals and getting uncompensated care," This was the most insightful words that the governor has spoken since entering politics. Has she become a realist in her old age?

Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Article comment by: Al DiCicco

Very disapointed as Governor Brewer has capitluated to the Feds for money and also drone testing in our State, all under the guise of more jobs. haha, right. She sounds like Obama, all for jobs. Legalize Industrial Hemp and money will flow in Arizona and we will all be fine. 13 States made the Federal Government and they work for us. The States can nullify the Federal Government. Nothing will change much until we rid DC of the massive corruption and greed. The States have parasites called the Federal Government. Perhaps we need Constitutional Convention at the State level? Do we have a good candidate for Arizona Governor 2014?

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