Arizona legislature approves Medicaid expansion

Published on June 15, 2013 at 12:30 AM · No Comments

After a months-long, high-stakes political battle, Arizona lawmakers endorsed a Medicaid expansion plan backed by Gov. Jan Brewer.

The Associated Press: Arizona Gov. Brewer Secures Medicaid Expansion 
Ending a six-month legislative session, Arizona lawmakers endorsed a key element of President Barack Obama's health care law in a huge political victory for Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, after a lengthy fight over Medicaid expansion that divided the state's Republican leadership. The expansion that will extend health care to 300,000 more low-income Arizonans came after months of stalled negotiations, tense debates and political maneuvering as Brewer pushed the Medicaid proposal through a hostile Legislature (Christie and Silva, 6/14).

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Arizona Expands Medicaid In Win For Gov. Brewer
Ms. Brewer had held rallies across the state since January to persuade Republican legislators to go along with her decision to adopt a key part of the federal health-care law, the growth of the Medicaid health program to include millions more low-income adults, after the Supreme Court decision a year ago effectively allowed states to choose whether to participate. … Ms. Brewer faced an unusual situation because the state had already been covering most adults up to the poverty line, and accepting federal dollars for the program expansion in 2014 would have allowed it to continue to do so with more generous funding (Radnofsky, 6/13).

Huffington Post: Arizona Medicaid Expansion Advances After Jan Brewer Forces Lawmakers' Hands
Arizona is among the 29 states and the District of Columbia with chief executives who support expanding Medicaid under Obamacare to anyone who earns less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $15,282 for a single person this year. Majority-Republican legislatures in a number of states have stymied expansions endorsed by their governors, including Florida's Rick Scott (R), Ohio's John Kasich (R), Michigan's Rick Snyder (R), Missouri's Jay Nixon (D) and others (Young, 6/14).

Politico: Jan Brewer Wins Medicaid Expansion In Arizona
The vote is the end of a chapter, though not the book, on Obamacare in Republican-led Arizona, where Brewer defied -; and sometimes confounded -; her base. ... Brewer, whose finger-wagging moment on the tarmac with Obama almost 18 months ago for a time came to represent conservative opposition to the president, sold the expansion plan as a sensible option for conservatives in Arizona. She said it's good for people, health care providers and the state's bottom line because the federal government pays the whole cost the first three years, then gradually cuts back to 90 percent (Millman and Cheney, 6/13).

Reuters: Arizona Lawmakers Pass Medicaid Expansion
Brewer, a staunch conservative in this desert southwestern state, has said Arizona had no choice but to agree to provide care to 300,000 poor and disabled residents through the federal-state program. She said the decision would also protect rural and other hospitals from being jeopardized by the rising costs of paying for uninsured patients, inject $2 billion into the state's economy and create thousands of jobs. ... Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Obama's healthcare overhaul but allowed states to opt out of a provision expanding the Medicaid program (Schwartz, 6/13).

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