Governor Brewer loses key GOP allies with Medicaid victory - WNEM TV 5

Governor Brewer loses key GOP allies with Medicaid victory

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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (CBS5) -

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer ends this week on a political high note, although she may have lost a few key political allies in the process.

The governor steamrolled over conservatives in her own party by calling for a special legislative session to get her budget and Medicaid expansion plan approved.

Friday was CBS5 first opportunity to ask the governor about her legislative victory, while conservative Republicans head back to their districts fuming over the passage of what they've dubbed "O-Brewercare."

"I believe that moving forward people will look back and say we did the right thing," said the governor.

Under the Medicaid expansion plan, more than 300,000 low-income people and families in Arizona will get medical insurance. The federal government will pay for almost all of it. It will pony up $10 for every $1 put forth by Arizona.

State conservatives who voted against the governor, however, fear the federal government will not live up to its promise and leave Arizona stuck with an enormous bill.

"I would like to stand before you and say I'm confident, but I'm not confident. I'm never confident in the federal government," says Brewer with a laugh.

All week long, conservative leaders in the House railed against the governor and how she muscled her way over the speaker of the house and senate president to get her plan approved.

"I feel like I've been punched in the gut," said State Rep. Debbie Lesko on Wednesday.

"I've never seen a circumstance where a governor has rolled over her own party because she was throwing a temper-tantrum," said State Rep. Eddie Farnsworth.

The governor tells CBS5 she does not believe any of her political relationships have been strained.

"Mend fences with them? I don't know what I've done," said Brewer. "I didn't say anything mean or derogatory or that I would have to apologize for."

There is a so-called "circuit-breaker" in the governor's Medicaid expansion plan. If the federal government contribution drops below eighty percent, Arizona automatically drops the program.

But then that would immediately drop the more than 300,000 people who had just been added to the insurance rolls.

One lawmaker compared the Medicaid expansion plan to the Eagles' famous song Hotel California, saying the state can opt in any time, but it can never leave.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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