She's trying to convince legislature to approve expansion
Gov. Jan Brewer brought a contingent of doctors and nurses to the state Capitol on Tuesday to endorse her proposal to expand Medicaid coverage in Arizona.
Dozens of doctors and nurses, most of them in white coats, stood behind of and beside the governor to show their support. Dr. Bill Thrift, president of the Arizona Medical Association, said the expansion of AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Containment System) is the right thing to do. "Restoration of AHCCCS is not a red issue or a blue issue to doctors. It is a patient care, humanitarian issue," he said.
He pointed out that the expansion will cover an additional 300,000 Arizona residents, but also decrease the number of patients who are treated at hospitals but then are unable to pay the bill because they don't have insurance: "Since the time the AHCCCS program was decreased, the cost of statewide uncompensated care has nearly doubled."
Brewer said the cost of that care is spread among hospital patients and insurance companies that DO pay for care.
There were also about a dozen protesters standing nearby holding signs, including one that said "Brewer you are a progressive" and "coverage does not equal care".
One of the protesters, Kathryn Kobor, told KFYI News that Arizona has no business accepting federal assistance when it comes to paying for health care for the indigent. "The federal government gets a toe hold in anything, and you can't get 'em out," she said.
She also said Brewer is ignoring the wishes of Arizona residents: "She has neglected her constituency. She has no right to speak for the citizens of Arizona, in my opinion."
PHOTOS: Dr. Bill Thrift of the Arizona Medical Association addresses a rally outside the Capitol, with Gov. Brewer behind him.
Protesters stand nearby