The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

January 15, 2013

Arizona's GOP governor pushes for Medicaid expansion under health care law

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Monday she plans to push for an expansion of the state's Medicaid program under the federal health care law, a surprising decision that could have an impact on other Republican governors weighing a similar decision.

Brewer has opposed the federal health care law known as the Affordable Care Act, citing worries over a potential overreliance on federal funding.

A provision in the 2010 law allows for states to increase Medicaid coverage, and Brewer told lawmakers in her annual State of the State address on Monday that virtually all of the expansion would be funded by the federal government. Not taking the money wouldn't contribute to the lowering of federal deficits, she said.

Any increase would also "include a circuit-breaker that automatically" would roll back enrollment if federal reimbursement rates decrease, Brewer said.

"I won't allow Obamacare to become a bait-and-switch," she said.

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