Good news at last for Arizona’s lower income, childless adults. After 144,000 of them lost Medicaid coverage since July 2011 due to state-imposed cuts, Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a controversial expansion of the program into law.
Controversial because the expansion is funded by $1.6 billion in federal funding, part of the Affordable Care Act. Gov. Brewer had previously been aligned with conservatives in opposition to Obamacare. I doubt the politics of it mattered much to people yanked from coverage because they happen not to be parents.
Typically, Arizona media profiled residents who will benefit from the change, such as University of Arizona student Brizza Contreras, 21. Afflicted with a serious medical condition, she lost Medicaid coverage at the start of the year and took the Spring semester off after her condition worsened.
“I’m very young. I never thought of having children at 21 years old,” Ms. Contreras said. “Because I’m a childless adult, I can’t get care.”
As you might expect, Gov. Brewer has outraged conservatives and Tea Party reps who feel “betrayed“.. This action alone may end any chance for her re-election.”I did not make this decision lightly,” Gov. Brewer told Politico. “It’s not only a mathematical issue, but it’s a moral issue.”
The new funding will enable Arizona to provide health insurance for a total of 240,000 additional residents. The action makes Arizona the 24th state to agree to participate with the federal government in expanded Medicaid services.
*Image Credit: Marianne Lljewski, Killeen (TX) Daily Herald