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Jan Brewer: 'Hairy arms' may stop Medicaid plan

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.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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