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Four counties jump on board, support Brewer Medicaid expansion



After Yavapai County jumped on board, three other county governments officially backed Gov. Jan Brewer’s proposal to expand Medicaid.

The board of supervisors of Coconino and Gila counties today approved pro-expansion resolutions, a boost to Brewer’s campaign to show that her plan has wide support in the state and within her party.

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors also passed a similar declaration yesterday.  Unlike the vote in Yavapai, Mohave’s board was divided, 3-2 vote.

The governor’s office said similar actions by local governments are expected.

Matthew Benson, who speaks for Brewer, emphasized that the supervisors are elected by voters across their counties as opposed to “individuals who are selected by a relative handful of party faithful” – a swipe at district and county-level Republican Parties that have approved anti-expansion resolutions.

“It shows that when elected officials study this issue and truly do the math, and see how it impacts both state government and local government, they come to the same conclusion Governor Brewer did – that Medicaid restoration is the right path,” Benson said.

The unanimous vote by Yavapai’s all-Republican board of supervisors yesterday and the actions by supervisors in three other counties came at a strategic time for Brewer, who is struggling to persuade local Republican Party leaders to rally behind her proposal.

The governor unveiled details of her plan last month, but the actual proposal has yet to be formally introduced in the Legislature.

Brewer’s office closely coordinated with Yavapai Board of Supervisors Chairman Chip Davis in drafting the pro-expansion proposal.

“I believe it to be the best thing for Arizona and we needed to support the governor,” Davis told the Arizona Capitol Times after the vote.

The resolutions argued it would be in the best interests of the state to expand the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System and pay for the health insurance of residents who earn up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

They noted that voters already supported health coverage for low-income Arizonans, and lamented the rising costs to the county as a result of freezing the enrollment of a segment of the AHCCCS population.

The resolutions also encouraged lawmakers to “stand with the people of Arizona who have twice expressed their support for the governor’s plan to provide AHCCCS coverage for Arizonans in need,” referring to previous public votes to insure low-income residents in the state.

“The governor’s plan is the best approach to honor the will of the voters, support county governments, and restore coverage to hundreds of thousands of Arizonans in need,” the Yavapai County resolution read.



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