Jan Brewer is the outgoing Governor of Arizona. Thank God for “outgoing.” Her final act as Governor, extinguishing any doubt that she’s a conservative, was to threaten the legislature that she would veto every piece of legislation they passed until they agreed to the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion in Arizona. It passed by a narrow margin.
As background, Jan Brewer was Secretary of State when President Obama appointed Janet Napolitano to head Homeland Security. Arizona does not have a Lt. Gov., and the SoS is constitutionally next in line. Brewer was reasonably competent SoS, it’s a government administrative job and really isn’t political. She stepped into the Governor’s office with about two years remaining in the term and showed herself to be a disaster. She’s never met a problem government money couldn’t fix.
When she came up for election in 2010 she had three primary challengers, was running third and fading fast when SB1070, the Arizona immigration challenge was passed. Brewer had no input into the drafting of the legislation and she used no political clout to get it passed. She sat on the legislation until the final day to sign it, and when she walked out on the stage with her pen no one knew if she would sign it or veto it. She signed it.
Her political handlers turned that into a victory with the low information Republican voters – the same ones who vote for John McCain and Jeff Flake – and she won reelection.
When ObamaCare passed, and one of the biggest pushes was to expand Medicaid, Governor Brewer was on the train leaving the station. She lied to the legislature and the people of Arizona repeatedly and finally got it passed. Her biggest lie was that adding about 60,000 people to the Medicaid roster wouldn’t cost anything, heck, she said it would save Arizona $8 billion.
The Goldwater Institute in Phoenix fought her but lost. They pointed out, among other things,
Expanding Medicaid will cost Arizona hundreds of millions of dollars.
For the first three years, the federal government has promised to cover 100% of the medical costs for the newly eligible Medicaid enrollees, and yet the cost to Arizona’s General Fund for the first year alone would be $154 million.
They have nine more solid reasons to oppose Medicaid expansion, but Brewer got it through the legislature with her veto threat.
That may all change shortly.
The Arizona Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Jan Brewer’s Medicaid expansion plan to move forward, a decision that deals a major blow to the governor’s signature achievement just days before she leaves office.
The high court agreed that 36 Republican lawmakers can sue Brewer over the legality of a hospital assessment that funds the expansion plan.
The ruling means the outgoing governor’s plan to insure about 300,000 poor Arizonans using a key part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul could eventually be crippled as she hands over the governor’s office to fellow Republican Doug Ducey.
This doesn’t kill the ObamaCare expansion in Arizona, it sends the question back to the trial court which will determine if the fund Brewer used to pay for the expansion is, in fact, a “tax.”
A bigger question for conservatives will be, what will Doug Ducey do? Ducey is the newly elected Governor who will shortly decide whether the state will continue to fight the lawsuit. The answer to that question will tell us whether Arizona finally has a conservative Governor or whether businessman we elected two months ago is just another Arizona RINO.