Interview with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer

Interview with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer

By John King, USA - March 26, 2012

KING: Days of tensions inside and outside the Supreme Court today as the high court considers whether the government can order citizens, order you to have health insurance.

On the other side of the country, the Arizona governor, Jan Brewer, is the nation's only governor not to take any legislative action towards implementing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare by some of its critics. She is part of a lawsuit also challenging the rule.

Governor Brewer joins us now from Arizona.

Governor, I know you oppose this law. I know you have joined a suit saying it is unconstitutional, but you haven't taken any steps in your state to be ready to implement it. If the high court says it is fine, it can stay in place, won't you be caught flat-footed?

GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: Well, that's not entirely correct, John.

I have taken steps here in Arizona because I felt it was the right thing to do, not knowing exactly what the Supreme Court is going to do, but I have started down the path and we are starting to implement the health exchanges. And we will be ready to set it up and move forward, so we don't put Arizona at risk of losing millions of dollars from the federal government in case they do win.

But, if they lose, I can just shut it right down. So I have tried to do the best on both sides of this issue. But I believe that we're going to win this case. I believe it is totally unconstitutional and it is absolutely unaffordable. It's unaffordable for Arizona for sure, and it is unaffordable for America.

KING: If you can in your words shut it down, what do you tell the estimated just shy of 60,000 young adults in Arizona who are now allowed to stay on their parents' health coverage because the law moves the age up to 26?

Or what do you tell the 1,700-plus Arizonans who had preexisting conditions, who couldn't get health insurance a year ago, but can now? What do you tell them if you win?

BREWER: Well, first and foremost, I understand their plight. We have all been at some time maybe in that kind of situation.

The bottom line is, is that I don't believe that the federal government -- and that is at issue. And I think states and states ought to have rights and those are issues that we can determine and that we could solve on a state level. Government just simply can't do everything for everyone.

And under the existing circumstances, I understand there are situations where people indeed need care and need services, but I believe in America that the majority of those people are getting those services under situations and circumstances that are afforded to them by their health care providers and their state government.

We need the federal government to understand and in regards to this lawsuit that it is going to have longtime, going forward, implications on our country, on liberty, and on freedom, and it is just not about health care. It is about states' rights and it's about mandating commerce, regulating.

KING: To that point, you have endorsed Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination. As you know, it is a big constitutional question for the court and it's also a fierce debate in our politics.

Senator Santorum who still thinks he has a shot at getting the nomination, he says if Republicans nominate Governor Romney it will be a disaster. Let's listen.


RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He is the worst candidate to go against Barack Obama on the most important issue of the day. It is what I said yesterday. It's what I have said in every single speech that I have been giving throughout the course of this campaign.


KING: Would Governor Romney on this health care issue be the worst possible thing the Republican Party could do?

BREWER: I don't believe so or I wouldn't have endorsed him.

I think he has got the support of good conservative Republicans throughout America. I think that Governor Romney wants the opportunity to go to the drawing board, and if a solution is needed, that he wants to work with all of us to get it solved. I think he wants to work with governors, he wants to work with state government, and he wants to do what's right for the people of Arizona.

And he is a big proponent of states' rights and he is a big proponent of freedom and that's what counts.

KING: Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, appreciate your time tonight.

BREWER: Thank you.

KING: Thank you. 

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