Jan Brewer's Medicaid Expansion Plan Passes Legislature

Despite the outcry from the state's far-right-wingers, Governor Jan Brewer's plan for Medicaid expansion plan now only requires her signature to become law.

While it certainly seemed odd that Brewer would embrace a part of "Obamacare," months after shoving her finger in President Obama's face, she was able to focus more on the fact that it's apparently in the state's best financial interest to insure some more poor people -- a point that didn't catch on with some Republicans.

Reports from the governor's office indicates that Brewer's plan expands eligibility for the state Medicaid program, AHCCCS, to an additional 240,000 lower-income people, and will also keep insuring tens of thousands of people -- many of them children -- whose coverage might be cut come January 1.

For that result, the state gives up $150 million to get $1.6 billion in matching funds from the federal government in 2015, the first year the plan is fully implemented.

The so-called "conservative" alternative proposed by state House Republicans would cost much more -- again, according to Brewer's office -- as the state previously got a waiver from the federal government to freeze Medicaid enrollment, but that waiver's expiring at the end of the year.

So, Brewer will take credit for the Medicaid expansion, but don't forget the deadly Medicaid cuts Brewer's overseen in the past.

Brewer's press release on the approval of Medicaid expansion can be seen here.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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