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Ducey, DuVal, Hess Debate State’s Medicaid Expansion and Obamacare

Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer

At a debate Monday night, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Doug Ducey said while he opposes Obamacare he would veto any effort by the Legislature to repeal the state Medicaid expansion, which is built on it and uses its funds. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

Gov. Jan Brewer pushed Medicaid expansion through the Legislature last year over the objections of most members of her own Republican Party. Brewer said she saw the Affordable Care Act as an opportunity to get millions in federal dollars, at least for the next three years, to restore cuts previously made to the program as well as expand eligibility. Ducey called the program an unacceptable expansion of government. But, he said scrapping it, with hundreds of thousands more now on the rolls, is not a realistic option.

“If you look at the budget, my first job is going to be protecting Arizona taxpayers. And because we do have the guarantee from the federal government, I think that we’re going to, I think that we would not want to do that,” Ducey said.

But, Libertarian Barry Hess the program does need to be scaled back.

“It is not a plus to say it’s growing and expanding. It’s like a welfare program. Oh, gee. Now we’ve got 50,000 new people on it. That is abysmal failure,” Hess said.

Democrat Fred DuVal supports expansion, saying killing it now would devastate rural health care.

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