Republican Gov. vs. Republicans on Medicaid expansion
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - People who can't get a job often depend on AHCCCS, Arizona version of Medicaid, to cover their health care. Now her fellow Republicans say Governor Brewer's caved in on Obamacare by pushing to expand how many people Medicaid covers.
Now the Governor has teamed up with some of her usual opponents to face off against some of her usual allies.
Politics makes strange bedfellows. Now, the old line could cover hospital beds.
At a hearing at Tucson on the Governor's Medicaid plan, groups that advocate for the poor, and for children lined up to praise her proposal to cover more people.
That would qualify Arizona for federal money through Obamacare.
The Governor says the expansion would help Arizona's economy with billions in Federal dollars, and help reduce unfunded care for the poor that stick hospitals with millions in unpaid bills.
For people like a former AHCCS client named Terena this goes beyond money.
"I had to get a personal surgery and it helped me, so I wanted to be here to support AHCCS through this."
But Republicans like Phil Opdenbrouw say the Governor's making an unhealthy choice.
"When we have the state starting this program, the Federal subsidy dries up, we're back into billion dollar debts again and I don't believe we should go in that direction."
Legislative District 10 chair Paul Diggins says paying for the expansion would hurt rural hospitals with new fees. When we asked about Republicans lined up against a Republican Governor, he said Republicans don't all think alike but a lot of them do think the Governor's wrong.
"From establishment types to libertarian types to tea party types and everybody's coming together, everybody's in agreement."
And these Republicans are the chairs for every legislative district in Southern Arizona, with the ear of lawmakers the Governor needs to get her plan through.