KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Ariz. Governor Backs Medicaid Expansion Under Health Law

Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican critic of the law,  surprised many when she announced in her State of the State speech that she would support expansion of the federal-state program for low-income residents.

The Associated Press: Arizona Gov. Opts For Federal Medicaid Expansion
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Monday she plans to push for an expansion of the state's Medicaid program under the federal health care law, a surprising decision that could have an impact on other Republican governors weighing a similar decision. Brewer has opposed the federal health care law known as the Affordable Care Act, citing worries over a potential overreliance on federal funding (Christie, 1/14).

Arizona Republic/USA Today: Ariz. Governor Opts To Expand Medicaid
The Republican governor's decision, long awaited by lawmakers and health-care professionals and opposed by many in the GOP, would bring the state an additional $7.9 billion in federal funds over four years to restore and expand the state's health-care insurance program to an estimated 300,000 low-income residents, according to the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (Sanders and Sanchez, 1/14).

The Arizona Republic: Surprise Medicaid Plan Draws Tepid GOP Reaction
Gov. Jan Brewer waded into choppy political waters Monday with her decision to push for Medicaid expansion, but she offered a financial strategy that could improve the odds that reluctant Republican lawmakers will go along. Brewer, bucking GOP legislative leadership in a reversal of her long-held opposition to federal health-care reform, said in her annual State of the State speech that Arizona can no longer afford not to extend health-care coverage to tens of thousands of uninsured (Reinhart, 1/14).

The Hill: Jan Brewer Backs Obama Health Law's Medicaid Expansion
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) proposed expanding Medicaid under President Obama's signature healthcare law, a surprising move from a vocal critic of the White House. Brewer backed the policy in her fifth State of the State speech Monday, vowing to create "circuit breakers" to protect Arizona's budget from onerous Medicaid bills in the future. "I won’t allow 'ObamaCare' to become a bait and switch," she said to applause from Republicans (Viebeck, 1/14).

Politico Pro: Brewer Says Arizona Will Expand MedicaidArizona
Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday announced she'll propose a plan to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act — but also issued a stern warning to the feds not to shut off funding to the program. "Taking advantage of this federal assistance is a strategic way to reduce pressure on the state budget," Brewer said in her State of the State address. Brewer's support makes her the third Republican governor of a Western state to embrace the ACA's Medicaid expansion. Brian Sandoval in Nevada and Susana Martinez in New Mexico both support the expansion and state-based health insurance exchanges, though Brewer turned down a state-run exchange late last year (Millman, 1/14).

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