After a very contentious fight in the state’s Republican leadership, Arizona lawmakers capped a six-month legislative session by agreeing to expand the state’s Medicaid program. After Governor Jan Brewer refused to sign any other bills until lawmakers passed a budget that included the expansion, legislators passed Brewer’s $8.8 billion state budget plan that included Medicaid expansion.
Governor Brewer, an early critic of the Affordable Care Act, surprisingly joined a growing number of Republican governors who later endorsed Medicaid expansion, which will provide health coverage to 300,000 low-income Arizonans. In her State of the State address in January, she noted that rejected expansion would mean Arizona taxpayers would subsidize care for those in other state while receiving no benefits themselves. The expansion will also help reduce the amount of uncompensated care hospitals must shoulder.
“The day has been a red-letter day for the people of Arizona,” Gov. Brewer told reporters after the budget votes yesterday. “It was a win, win, win all the way around.”