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Obamacare's unexpected ally in Arizona

Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has never exactly been a reliable ally of President Obama, and she's certainly never been a fan of the Affordable Care Act. After "Obamacare" became law, the Republican governor was one of the first in the nation to file suit, hoping to destroy the law in the courts.

But the political circumstances have clearly changed. Over the summer, Brewer successfully demanded that Republicans in the state legislature accept Medicaid expansion under the federal law. This week, Brewer has a message for Republicans in Congress: leave Obamacare alone (thanks to my colleague Tricia McKinney for the heads-up).

Gov. Jan Brewer said Wednesday that she does not want U.S. House Republicans to succeed in their bid to shut down the Affordable Care Act, saying it would "devastate" the state budget. [...]

"The bottom line is we need that money in our economy to save rural hospitals and jobs in the rural areas," the governor said, as well as making sure hospitals in metropolitan areas, where most AHCCCS patients are seen, get paid. "It's all about jobs and getting back federal dollars that our taxpayers have paid to the federal government, to bring them home." [...]

And Brewer said those involved need to be realistic and recognize that Obamacare was enacted, it remains the law and the votes are not there to repeal it.

OK then.

The point, of course, isn't that Brewer is incorrect. On the contrary, she's absolutely right -- repealing or defunding the health care law would be dreadful for state budgets, would hurt hospitals, and would cost jobs. The governor is also correct that repealing the law isn't realistic, House Republicans' 46 repeal votes notwithstanding.

Rather, what's interesting here is who's making these comments. I expect the Affordable Care Act to have champions in gubernatorial offices nationwide; I don't expect Arizona's Jan Brewer to be among them. There aren't many who've made the transition from "let's destroy the entirety of the law" to "don't you dare mess with this law," but this Republican governor appears to have pulled it off.

One assumes she'll hear "RINO" taunts going forward, but given how conservative Brewer is on everything else, will anyone take the criticisms from the seriously?