In a state budget vote taken Thursday night in the Arizona Senate, the focal point was the expansion of Medicaid — a key element of ObamaCare, oddly prioritized and embraced by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer.
The issue has been divisive, firmly placing those who ran and were elected as Republicans in the Democrat camp. Republican Majority Leader John McComish (LD-18) was instrumental in ensuring the Medicaid expansion was added onto the $8.8 billion budget bill.
Senate President Andy Biggs (LD-12) and other conservative opponents offered numerous amendments to the expansion, which Brewer claims will bring Arizona $1.6 billion in “federal money” [read: taxpayer dollars]. Included was an amendment to block an unconscionable hospital bed tax, to pay the state’s costs of providing coverage to an additional 300,000 low-income and uninsured Arizonans. The expansion would stretch the coverage beyond the state’s income threshold to 133 percent of the poverty level, or $30,675 for a family of four.
As we have previously seen, the Senate’s 13 Democrats hung together supporting the costly scheme with six Republicans, including John McComish jumping ship to join them. The other collaborators voting with the Dems are Rich Crandall (LD-16), Adam Driggs (LD-28), Steve Pierce (LD-1), Michele Reagan (LD-23) and Bob Worsley (LD-25). Remember their names when election season rolls around.
In the end, the final vote ended up rolling the conservative leadership. The Majority Leader and Majority Whip violated their responsibility as part of the leadership team by voting against amendments presented by the Senate President. This level of treachery has not occurred in the state legislature since the notorious Randall Gnant, who brokered a deal with the Democrats against his own caucus in 2000 in order to become Senate President. A historical note that should be remembered is that Gnant was never elected to any other office in this state as a result of his treachery.
The Arizona House will take up the bill next week. Contact your Representatives (House roster here) and let them know of your strong opposition to OBrewerCare and those who vote for it.
A poll conducted last month by Magellan Strategies reveals public cynicism aimed at Brewer’s relentless push for Obama’s cornerstone program in Arizona. Although 49% had a “favorable” opinion of Gov. Brewer, and all but 2% were familiar with her, the percentage opposing her full implementation of Medicaid expansion skyrocketed to 58%. Equally significant is the fact that state legislators who joined with her are less likely to be retained by the voters within their districts by a whopping 43% — compared to only 30% who would be more likely to support them.
For more information on this costly and ultimately unsustainable issue, the Heritage Foundation’s Alyene Senger has written 10 Myths About the ObamaCare Medicaid Expansion.