A prominent Republican governor is calling on congressional Republicans to end their efforts to defund Obamacare, arguing that her state needs the money included in the law.
Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) — who raised eyebrows for pushing her party into expanding Medicaid in June — told the Arizona Daily Star, “the bottom line is we need that money in our economy to save rural hospitals and jobs in the rural areas.” “It’s all about jobs and getting back federal dollars that our taxpayers have paid to the federal government, to bring them home,” she added.
Indeed, multiple studies have have shown that expanding Medicaid under Obamacare reduces states’ uninsurance rate and brings in more money to hospitals and doctors. In Arizona, hospitals will gain “$108 million in the first six months of 2014 under a Medicaid expansion plan” and increase the number of people with coverage by about 300,000. Overall, “expanded Medicaid coverage will boost that hospital’s bottom line by more than $749,000.”
Under Obamacare, beginning in 2014, the federal government will cover 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion for three years and pay 90 percent of the bill thereafter. That funding is unaffected by the shutdown, but it would presumably be lost if the GOP actually succeeded in its push to defund the entire law.
Currently, just 29 states are moving forward with expansion. Arizona is one of several Republican-led states to do so. If the state doesn’t receive the federal money under the health law, Brewer said, “we will be faced with a calamity.”