By KYLE CHENEY | 6/5/13 6:48 PM EDT Updated: 6/6/13 9:14 AM EDT
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has become an unlikely warrior for Obamacare.
Brewer is a conservative Republican who sued to topple the health law, refused to set up a health insurance exchange and memorably wagged her finger at President Barack Obama on a Phoenix airport tarmac. But now she’s so determined to put the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in place in her state that she’s vetoing any legislation that reaches her desk until the Republican Legislature caves.
Her entire week’s schedule is five words long: “Hold for budget, Medicaid negotiations.”
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It’s a posture that’s confounding conservatives who once embraced her for signing a toughest-in-the-nation crackdown on illegal immigrants and for defying the Obama White House.
Brewer says it’s been quite the firestorm, but she insists that expansion saves money and saves lives — and that everybody would realize that if they weren’t so “hung up on the fact” that it was part of Obama’s health law.
”We were all so adamant that we didn’t like Obamacare. We fought tooth and nail. But there comes a time, and you have to look at the reality. You have to do the math,” Brewer told POLITICO in a phone interview. “I did not make this decision lightly. … It’s not only a mathematical issue, but it’s a moral issue.”