Per HuffPo, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez (R) has announced that her state will be participating in the Obamacare Medicaid expansion:
A second Republican governor has agreed to carry out an expansion of Medicaid under President Barack Obama’s health care reform law. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez announced her plans Tuesday.
Martinez and Nevada’s Gov. Brian Sandoval are the only Republican governors to date to support broadening Medicaid eligibility to anyone earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which was $14,856 last year. In contrast, 10 other Republican governors have gone on record opposing a Medicaid expansion…
…In announcing that her state would go along with the Medicaid expansion, Martinez cited her responsibilities to needy New Mexicans and to the state’s budget.
“We have an obligation to provide an adequate level of basic health care services for those most in need in our state. However, we also have an obligation to ensure our state’s financial security,” Martinez said in a news release. “In deciding to expand Medicaid, I weighed every possible outcome and impact. Ultimately, this decision comes down to what is best for New Mexicans.”
What do Martinez and Sandoval have in common? Hmm, this is a toughie. Oh right, they happen to be the Republican governors of blue states. Both states went for Obama in 2008 and 2012 and both have Democratic majorities in their legislatures. I point this out to rebut the conventional wisdom that has taken hold among the chattering classes in Arizona that we just need to get more “moderate” Republicans in the legislature and, somehow, sensible policies will ensue. (I always put “moderate” in those scare quotes because, as I’ve said here numerous times, far too often people mistakenly conflate affability with moderation. This is largely why we have radically right wing but genial Jeff Flake as our new US Senator.)
Recent history has shown that the most “moderate” Republican legislators in Arizona get rolled by their rabid right wing counterparts with far more frequency than they are able to mitigate the wingnuttery. So while well-mannered “moderates” are fine, and maybe even helpful, in Republican majority districts where no Democrat can win, it’s unwise to support one over a Democrat in a competitive legislative or a statewide race. Or a municipal or any other race that could possibly be won by a Democrat. Republican majorities in government, quite simply, suck.
Arizona has some political and demographic miles to go before we get to where formerly Red states NM and NV are but Dems made some strides in the right direction in 2012 by taking away veto-proof GOP majorities. This needs to continue. If you truly want to moderate Arizona and usher in good governance and economic success, it’s imperative to get more people voting Democratic and more offices won by Democrats. Republicans had their chance for decades. They blew it, so why keep holding their hands?
Governor Brewer may be a lost cause on the Medicaid-expansion front but Governors Martinez and Sandoval demonstrate how you get Republicans to act right. You do it by surrounding them with Democrats.