Ariz. GOP Split Over Brewer's Medicaid Expansion

Image: Ariz. GOP Split Over Brewer's Medicaid Expansion

Sunday, 21 Jul 2013 10:24 PM

By Greg Richter

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When Republican Gov. Jan Brewer managed to pass Medicaid expansion in the state with Democrats and a few Republicans in June, she probably didn't realize what a hornet’s nest she'd stir up.

Conservative Republicans were furious and have vowed not only to repeal the law, but also launch primary campaigns against the Republicans who supported her.

"It’s pro-life, it’s saving lives, it is creating jobs, it is saving hospitals,” Brewer told The New York Times. "I don’t know how you can get any more conservative than that."

But the GOP-led legislature doesn't see it that way, and neither do a lot of Republican activists. The conservative blog Sonoran Alliance dubbed Republicans who voted for the expansion “Brewercrats” and the expansion "Obrewercare."

A petition drive to give voters a chance to undo the expansion has eight more weeks to gather the needed 86,400 signatures. Brewer is also mounting a petition drive in favor of the expansion.

“(Brewer) abandoned the planks of the Republican Party platform to do whatever she perceived to be popular, and she grossly miscalculated the power we had to fight back,” Frank Antenori, a former Republican state senator who is backing the repeal effort, told the Times.

Brewer, who has fought President Barack Obama on issues such as states' rights to enforce federal immigration laws, believes the two sides can reconcile.

"Nobody likes to lose, and that’s what happened" when the Medicare expansion passed, she told the Times. "I believe we will heal."

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