Applause for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer
The Kansas City Star
Words I never thought I’d find myself writing: Jan Brewer is my hero of the day.
Yes, that Jan Brewer. The Republican governor of Arizona whose signature is on the harsh immigration bill that was partly the work of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The same Jan Brewer who was photographed shaking her finger at President Barack Obama on a tarmac of the Phoenix airport.
Jan Brewer is my hero, at least for today, because she has the common sense and courage to support an expansion of Medicaid as called for in the Affordable Care Act.
Though certainly no fan of “Obamacare,” Brewer hit all the right points Monday in her state-of-the-state address. Federal money to provide health care for thousands of low-income Arizonans will pour about $2 billion into the state’s economy. The money is on the table and if her state doesn’t take it, other states will. Uninsured patients cost everybody money. And, like it or not, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land.
Brewer not only stood up to many in her own party by taking the money, she came through with a good idea.
Many Republicans worry that the federal government might renege on its pledge to pay 100 percent of the cost of state’ Medicaid expansions for three years, and never less than 90 percent going forward.
This seems a bit manufactured. Washington’s inclination when it comes to Medicaid has been to expand, not retrench. But Brewer proposed writing a “circuit breaker” into state law, enabling the state to shrink Medicaid enrollment if federal subsidies are reduced.
Very ingenious. Brewer’s support for the expansion, and her circuit breaker idea, could prove inspirational with other Republican governors. Maybe even one Sam Brownback of Kansas.
The Arizona governor even showed a flash of humor in her speech. “We cannot wag our finger at the federal government,” she said, in an obvious reference to her weird airport encounter with Obama. “Trust me, I tried that once.”