Governor Brewer's Medicaid expansion proposal remains stalled in the Arizona House

June 03, 2013

The Arizona House continues to work behind closed doors to reach an agreement on Governor Jan Brewer’s proposal to expand Medicaid. The measure has passed in the Senate, but a Republican stalemate over the issue has forced the session into overtime.

Governor Brewer wants to include an additional 300,000 low-income Arizonans in the state’s Medicaid program known as AHCCCS. Start-up funding for the state expansion would come from the federal government under President Obama’s Affordable Health Care law.

Many Republicans in the legislature do not like the proposal, because they see it as a federal mandate, and they have tried to come up with a way to kill it in the state House. But, Governor Brewer’s spokesman Matt Benson said the governor smells victory.

“She’s very confident that she has the votes that she ultimately will need in the House to get this passed, and at this point it's really a matter of working through some of the concerns that legislators and the speaker of the house have with that measure," Benson said. "But ultimately the governor is going to get this over the finish line.”

The political tussle over Medicaid expansion has postponed approval of a state budget.  Meanwhile, Brewer has been following up on her threat to veto bills that come to her desk before lawmakers pass the Medicaid package, and two former Republican lawmakers are already organizing an effort to get the Medicaid legislation repealed should it pass.

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