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Legislature sends budget, Medicaid expansion to governor
Less than 24 hours after the Arizona House approved Gov. Jan Brewer’s plan to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the Senate has followed suit. That ended the special session the governor called Tuesday to deal with Medicaid and the budget.
Five Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the proposal to add around 300,000 low-income Arizonans to the Medicaid rolls. The House had approved the expansion, along with the rest of the budget after midnight Thursday, with a similar bipartisan coalition.
Critics complained about the way in which the bill came up for a vote and criticized the governor for calling lawmakers into special session. One senator predicted the Medicaid issue would end up in court, while another urged critics to put the issue on the ballot next fall.
Expanding Medicaid has been one of the governor’s top priorities this year. She surprised many by calling for it in her State of the State address in January and repeatedly clashed with members of her own party, who oppose expansion.