Governor's Medicaid expansion plan moving forward

June 05, 2013

Republican House Speaker Andy Tobin is taking up the $8.8 billion state budget passed by the Arizona Senate, but says his effort to reach a deal with the governor on Medicaid have failed.

Tobin assigned the package of 10 Senate budget bills to the Appropriations Committee yesterday. The move comes nearly three weeks after the Senate passed a budget that includes Governor Jan Brewer's Medicaid expansion plan.

Tobin said he's not against adding about 300,000 people to the state health insurance program, but had been trying to cut a deal on Medicaid that included provisions he wanted. But Tobin couldn’t marshal support among GOP colleagues, and the governor wasn't receptive to his planned changes.

Tobin says the Legislature hasn’t adopted a budget for the new fiscal year begins in less than four weeks -- and Medicaid is part of that budget.

“When they're tied to the budget and you can't move one without the other, and clearly I think everyone's felt we had to start getting a budget moving, I didn't know what else I was left to do," Tobin said.

A House hearing on the plan could come tomorrow, though a floor vote will not occur before next week. Democrats and some Republicans say they think Medicaid can pass the House.

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