Gov. Brewer's Medicaid expansion bill fails to make it out of House committee
One of the most controversial issues in the state legislature continues to mystify lawmakers. Governor Jan Brewer’s Medicaid expansion bill did not receive enough support from members of her own party to advance in the House for a final vote.
The measure has already been approved by the Senate. It would add 300,000 low-income people to Arizona’s Medicaid program with start-up funds under President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act. By a vote of 7 to 4, down party lines, members of the House Appropriations Committee effectively prevented the bill from advancing to the house floor for a vote.
Phoenix Democrat Chad Campbell said he is not disappointed the bill failed to make it out of the committee.
“No, this is just the beginning so, I think what we saw today was the inevitable basically," Campbell said. "The majority of the body supports it. You have a minority number of legislators right now overriding the will of the majority, we’ll get it passed.”
Campbell said Democrats may tack the Medicaid bill directly onto the state budget package. He said he is confident there is enough support from members of both parties to send it to the governor.
Republican John Kavanagh concedes Democrats have another shot at getting the bill through.
“They’ll have their day on the floor, they’ll have their vote, and hopefully if we have the vote, regardless of whether it's up or down, and I certainly hope it goes down, everybody will move on," Kavanagh said. "We’ll just do the rest of the budget and we’ll go home, because this is a very divisive issue, and it's tearing the state and it's tearing the Republican party apart.”
Medicaid expansion is holding up progress on a state budget, and lawmakers are working under a deadline to get the spending plan passed before the new fiscal year starts on July 1.