House speaker wants Medicaid plan to go to voters

May 15, 2013

House Speaker Andy Tobin is proposing an alternative to the governor's plan to add 300,000 people to the state's Medicaid rolls. 

The state's $250 million share of the cost, under the governor's plan, would come from an assessment on hospitals. But Tobin says the plan has shortcomings. And he wants any expansion to be approved by voters.

"This is a huge issue, obviously potentially the largest expansion of any government, department, or program in decades, if not out our history," Tobin said.

Governor Jan Brewer says she's willing to look at some of what Tobin wants but thinks lawmakers were sent to the capitol to make tough decisions and there is no reason to send the complicated issue to the voters.

"I think it is really complex. I think it is something that's very difficult really to try to get out there and explain. That's going to happen over the summer. It's going to be hot and difficult to get out there to campaign," Brewer said.

Brewer, however, has done this before. She got voters to approve a temporary sales tax hike in 2010.

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