Brewer Lawyers Head To Court In Medicaid Battle

December 13, 2013

(Photo courtesy of the Arizona Office of the Governor)
Gov. Jan Brewer

Attorneys for Gov. Jan Brewer want a judge to kick out a lawsuit challenging the Medicaid expansion Brewer spearheaded. The challenge comes from fellow Republicans.

Brewer was one of a handful of Republican governors who supported the Medicaid expansion that is a part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Though Brewer opposes that law, she saw expanding AHCCCS as an opportunity to reduce the burden of uninsured patients on the state’s health care system.

The law passed in June with support from all the Democrats and some of the Republicans in the Arizona legislature. Thirty-six Republican lawmakers who opposed the Medicaid expansion have filed suit, along with citizens and a conservative group. They argue that the hospital assessment paying for the expansion is a tax, which under the state constitution must pass with a two-thirds majority.

Brewer has maintained it’s not a tax, and her lawyers want the suit dismissed on the grounds that the challengers do not have standing. In a court filing, they say lawmakers are seeking judicial relief for a political loss. The first hearing on the suit is set to get underway on Friday.