by David Safier
I was the final guest on today's Bill Buckmaster Show — audio here. The newsworthy event of the show came from Ethan Orr, the first guest. He's the new Republican LD-9 state rep who tries to come off as something of a moderate until he's pressed for details, when his conservative leanings peek through. In the past, Orr said he was against the AHCCCS expansion, but answering Buckmaster's question, he said he supports the proposal Brewer made in her State of the State address. He claimed his change of heart came for economic reasons, which innoculates him from sounding like a pro-Obamacare, pro-Medicaid-expansion guy, preserving his conservative cred. That being said, it's a semi-promising beginning for Orr. We'll learn more about him as the lege gets into full swing.
Orr's analysis of the chances for the expansion passing came from a different premise than the one AZ Blue Meanie used in a post earlier today. The Meanie thinks the so-called "hospital bed tax" to pay the state's part of the expansion will take a 2/3 majority to pass the lege because it's a tax. Orr talked about the measure needing a simple majority to pass. If Orr is right, I think we have a very good chance of seeing a Medicaid expansion — and its passage might just be a baby step toward creating the occasional coalition between Democrats and enough Republicans to form a majority. If AZ Blue Meanie is right, you can probably kiss the expansion good-bye. No way both houses are going to pull together 2/3 of their members to vote for anything that has Obama's name attached to it.