by David Safier
In her State of the State address, Gov. Brewer said she's authorizing the expansion of Arizona's Medicaid program, AHCCCS. That's very good news if true. It means more people will be covered, hospitals won't have to shoulder the burden of treating patients who can't pay, and lots of federal dollars will flow into the state.
Brewer explained her decision. To my ears, it sounded like the basic progressive explanation of why the expanded program will help the state, including that it will bring us much-needed jobs.
Brewer threw in two conditions. First, she wants legislation to "safeguard" against the Fed pulling back on its promises of reimbursement for the program. We'll see if there are any poison pills in the conditions put into Brewer's "circuit breaker" that would allow Arizona to pull out of the deal. Second, she expects hospitals to levy fees on themselves to pay for the state's part of the program so it won't come out of government revenues. So far as I know, hospitals have already said they were willing to do that, so I don't think it's going to be a problem.
If this is what it looks like, Brewer has decided not to join the most conservative governors in refusing to accept the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid. If that's true, she's done a good thing.