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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer speaks about her Medicaid plan on Thursday, April 11, 2013 in Phoenix. (KTAR Photo/Bob McClay)

PHOENIX -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer admitted Thursday that her Medicaid expansion plan is in for a tough fight in the Arizona Legislature.

"It's a difficult issue," she said. "There are a lot of hairy arms out there in regards to health care. We have the ability to solve that. That's what we're all elected to do down here, is to represent the people, involve ourselves in educating ourselves and voting for the people of Arizona."

Brewer would not elaborate on what she meant by the "hairy arms" statement.

Brewer joined dozens of mental health professionals who said they support the plan. They said that, right now, care for people with mental issues is delayed or prevented by their inability to pay for treatment.

Mental health attorney Chick Arnold said Brewer's plan would change that.

"By extending coverage through Medicaid expansion, we make treatment accessible to many Arizonans," he said. "Children can get treatment sooner. There will be no exclusions for pre-existing conditions. Mental health care will be at parity with traditional healthcare treatment."

Arnold urged Arizonans to tell their legislators to vote for the plan.

Brewer said that if the Legislature fails to pass her plan, it would be devastating.

"Without legislative action, about 2,000 Arizonans with serious mental illness will lose their coverage on January 1st, 2014."

Brewer said they would join thousands of patients of cancer and other diseases in losing their Medicaid coverage.

"With my Medicaid restoration plan, we can continue their coverage and offer to more than 200,000 of Arizona's working poor. All the while, bringing back to Arizona about $2 billion dollars per year of our own tax dollars and using this money to protect hospitals and grow jobs right here in Arizona."

Brewer concluded by saying her plan is the right one for Arizona. She believes the state legislature will pass it despite the uphill battle.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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