Arizona Gov fights for Obamacare/Arizona Sheriff suspends immigration efforts

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AK Forty Seven, Jun 7, 2013.


    Arizona’s Jan Brewer becomes unlikely ally of Obamacare
    By: Kyle Cheney
    June 5, 2013 06:48 PM EDT

    Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has become an unlikely warrior for Obamacare.

    Brewer is a conservative Republican who sued to topple the health law, refused to set up a health insurance exchange and memorably wagged her finger at President Barack Obama on a Phoenix airport tarmac. But now she’s so determined to put the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in place in her state that she’s vetoing any legislation that reaches her desk until the Republican Legislature caves.

    Her entire week’s schedule is five words long: “Hold for budget, Medicaid negotiations.”

    (PHOTOS: The eight GOP governors who said yes to Medicaid expansion)

    It’s a posture that’s confounding conservatives who once embraced her for signing a toughest-in-the-nation crackdown on illegal immigrants and for defying the Obama White House.

    Brewer says it’s been quite the firestorm, but she insists that expansion saves money and saves lives — and that everybody would realize that if they weren’t so “hung up on the fact” that it was part of Obama’s health law.

    ”We were all so adamant that we didn’t like Obamacare. We fought tooth and nail. But there comes a time, and you have to look at the reality. You have to do the math,” Brewer told POLITICO in a phone interview. “I did not make this decision lightly. … It’s not only a mathematical issue, but it’s a moral issue.”

    (Also on POLITICO: TOP 5 complaints about Obamacare)

    Brewer is not the only Republican governor to pursue Medicaid expansion, but she’s the most avid. Ohio Gov. John Kasich drew scorn from conservatives this week when, in a USA Today op-ed, he suggested Ronald Reagan would have supported expansion. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder recently invited Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to come lobby reluctant lawmakers. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, among the nation’s most vocal critics of Obamacare, stunned people on both ends of the spectrum in February, when he endorsed adding about 1 million Floridians to the Medicaid rolls. But he didn’t make expansion a centerpiece of his agenda.

    Brewer, in contrast, has made a campaign-style push. She has held rallies with advocates who typically battle Republicans, given speeches, aired commercials and traveled the state pushing the message. Her spokesman, Matthew Benson, said an outside coalition, including the state hospital association, has helped raise $1 million for the effort with Brewer’s encouragement.

    She predicts she’ll get her bill through the Legislature with support from Democrats and just enough Republicans. It could happen within a week or so.

    But that won’t end the controversy.

    “That we are getting Obamacare by our governor is shocking, to say the least. There’s no words to describe it,” said Christine Bauserman, a Republican activist from Pima County who says Brewer mistakenly thinks the Medicaid position will make her more popular. “I believe she’s in a bubble room wrapped with bubble wrap with cotton balls in her ears.”

    Critics like Bauserman are promising to push for a ballot initiative that could stretch the fight all the way to the November 2014 elections and put the brakes on expansion until at least 2015. That would mean the state would lose out on the roughly $1.5 billion of federal Medicaid funds that would be available next year.

    The second-term governor said her stance on Medicaid doesn’t mean she’s changed her mind about Obamacare. Her website still calls it “an assault on States’ rights and individual liberty.” But she explained, “Our Medicaid program was here long before Obama health care.”

    She also said that Medicaid-related questions have been on the ballot in the state twice — and voters supported expansion of the state’s relatively generous program both times. Parts were later frozen because money ran short, but those federal dollars under expansion would reopen enrollment.

    Many on the right have been apoplectic. National Review in a recent editorial described her push as “economic illiteracy” and a misguided “tantrum.” Republican analysts says she’s been seduced by the promise of billions of federal dollars to support Medicaid expansion or that she’s caved to the powerful hospital lobby.

    But others say her willingness to go to the mat for an element of Obamacare shouldn’t be a shock, that she has a track record of championing divisive causes that don’t always align with her conservatism. For instance, Brewer took on her party in support of a temporary 1-cent sales tax increase in 2010. (That tax hike expired last week).

    “She dug in with the same type of vigor on that fight,” said Jason Rose, a Republican consultant based in Phoenix. “She’s looking at the math and putting aside her philosophical opposition to Obamacare.”

    Rose added, though, that Brewer’s push could have consequences for her party: Some Republican lawmakers will most likely lose in next year’s primaries if they vote for expansion.

    The Arizona chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business said its members would make their displeasure clear. “It will continue to be a defining political issue for years to come as politicians are made to answer to their constituents for their vote on Medicaid expansion. We are confident that as time passes, those supporting Medicaid expansion will regret their decision or be made to regret it by the voters,” state NFIB head Farrell Quinlan wrote in an email to POLITICO.

    Advocates for Obamacare see Brewer’s support as pragmatic, a choice they say any governor would make if politics were taken out of the equation. Brewer’s office estimates that accepting expansion will restore coverage for 240,000 people frozen out of Medicaid for lack of funds in 2011 and extend coverage to 57,000 more.

    “One of the things I’ve said over and over again is that any governor or state legislator who rejects the Medicaid expansion is committing fiscal malpractice,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. “In Brewer’s case, virtually every one of the local chambers of commerce were saying, support this. … There is strong support that comes from a traditional Republican base.”

    But those in the GOP pushing hardest against expansion disagree.

    “The voters here in Arizona aren’t stupid. They will kill this,” said former Republican lawmaker Frank Antenori, who is working on the petition drive. If the expansion passes and Brewer signs it into law, the critics would have 90 days to collect about 90,000 signatures to get the referendum on the ballot.

    Brewer’s office disputes the legality of the effort, contending that the Medicaid expansion is intertwined with the state budget, which is exempt from voter referendums. But Antenori said legal scholars have backed him up and that defeating expansion will be a “slam-dunk” once it gets on the ballot.

    “We did an internal poll two weeks ago that showed if you add the word ‘Obamacare,’ or ‘administered by the IRS’ … it goes down, and it goes down heavy,” he said.

    Brewer hopes that the intensity of the fight over expansion doesn’t linger, particularly between her and her longtime Republican allies in the Legislature.

    “I hope not. I’ve been an elected official in the state of Arizona for 30 years. Ive been through a lot of battles. We all have to remember, it’s not a personal thing,” she said. “We will move on. I hope that they can see through all of that.”

    Ariz. sheriff suspends immigration efforts

    PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona sheriff who led the way for local police across the country to take up immigration enforcement is reconsidering his crackdowns — and other law enforcement officials who followed his lead are expected to eventually back away, too.

    Joe Arpaio, the sheriff for metropolitan Phoenix, has temporarily suspended all his immigration efforts after a federal judge concluded two weeks ago that the sheriff's office had racially profiled Latinos in its patrols, Arpaio spokesman Brandon Jones told The Associated Press.

    Arpaio critics, including the federal government, are gaining ground in their fight to get the sheriff out of immigration enforcement. Even before the ruling, Washington had stripped Arpaio's office of its special federal immigration arrest powers and started to phase out the program across the country amid complaints that it led to abuses by local officers. The Arpaio ruling is expected to impact state immigration laws in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, where local officers question people's immigration status in certain instances.

    The national mood on immigration also has changed dramatically. Fewer states are seeking their own immigration laws, and proponents for Congress to overhaul the nation's immigration system have public opinion on their side.

    Peter Spiro, a Temple University law professor who specializes in immigration law, said the May 24 ruling marks a big blow for Arpaio and the movement for more local immigration enforcement. "It's a cautionary tale for any other would-be Joe Arpaios out there," Spiro said. "This is an example that others can hardly afford to ignore."
  3. The article about the Brewer reads like it came from the Onion, is it real?
  4. Yes Sir Big A its real .Gotta love those Republicans embracing Obamacare :D
  5. Jem . . . whats your opinion ?
  6. Max E.

    Max E.

    Isnt Jan Brewer the one who the democrats spent the last 5 years pclaiming was insane?

    she was always lumped in with christine oddonnell, michelle bachmann, sarah palin, and that twat from nevada who was too goddamn stupid to take out harry reid.
  7. I don't see any Republican Governors supporting ObamaCare because of the philosophy behind it.

    Its only to get the Federal monies. Doing it for the money, kinda like whores.

    If you liberals want to call it a victory for Obamacare then thank me and the top 20% of earners whose taxes are for paying for it.
  8. Max E.

    Max E.

    You didnt seem to like Brewer back then, infdact you used her as an illustration of evil republicans cutting spending.

  9. I thought AK was pointing out the irony.
  10. Max E.

    Max E.

    Your inability to properly guage a simpleton like ak's emotion is most likely the reason you failed as a trader, ak's range of emotions does not go any deeper than spite. Sorry if that sounds harsh, im just trying to be honest.
    #10     Jun 8, 2013