A strange image just popped into my head of Governor Brewer wagging her finger in the faces of Republicans in the Arizona state house.
Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) has a message for her party: expand Medicaid — or else.Indeed
The combative GOP governor is sticking by a threat she made to veto all legislation until lawmakers resolve the 2014 state budget and pass Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. On Thursday, Brewer proved that wasn’t just talk, vetoing five bills sent to her desk in quick succession.
“I warned that I would not sign additional measures into law until we see resolution of the two most pressing issues facing us: adoption of a fiscal 2014 state budget and plan for Medicaid,” wrote Brewer in her veto message. “It is disappointing I must demonstrate the moratorium was not an idle threat.”
Apparently, Arizona lawmakers have only five weeks before a state constitutional deadline to pass a budget befalls them. The Democratic caucus (with the help of six Republican state senators) passed a Medicaid expansion bill last Thursday. But efforts have gone nowhere in the state house since.
Brewer's not relenting. She's been on a state-wide tour to both shore up support for the expansion and put added pressure on state lawmakers in her own party
Some Republicans opposed to the expansion have warned of dire political consequences for lawmakers who buck the traditional conservative opposition to Medicaid. In a letter to Republican legislators, the chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Committee wrote of the state senators who voted for expansion, “Their egregious actions will have serious consequences. Their political careers are all but over and their days numbered.” He referred to Brewer as a “rogue governor” in the same statement.So, when a Republican governor actually does something that's pragmatic and sure to help thousands and thousands of people... that governor's gone "rogue?" A conservative mind works in strange ways.
Back at the beginning of the year, Brewer became the third Republican governor to embrace the expansion, stating the fact that it would provide health coverage to fifty-thousand low-income Arizonians.
While promoting the expansion in March, Brewer attested to the dire consequences of failing to expand Medicaid. “The human cost of this tragedy can’t be calculated,” said Brewer, flanked by public health officials, doctors, and advocates for the poor. “Remember, there is no Plan B.”According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) the expansion of Medicaid would cut the state's uninsured rate by almost a third.
I'm about to write something here that never in a million years would I have thought would have even occurred to me. And frankly, it's a little unsettling to have it rattling around in my head.
Props to Governor Brewer.
Strange days indeed