Court says Medicaid expansion law in Arizona is constitutional

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer holds up the contentious Medicaid expansion bill after signing it into law. /Photo by Evan Wyloge:Arizona Capitol Times

The Arizona Court of Appeals has upheld the constitutionality of a law passed in 2013 expanding the state’s Medicaid program.

By Luige del Puerto | Arizona Capitol Times

The court said the law imposed an assessment that is exempt from the requirement that any act by lawmakers increasing state revenues, such a tax hike, must get a two-thirds vote in the Legislature.

The health care law was approved by a simple majority.

At issue is the assessment on hospitals, which the state uses to draw down matching federal funds.

The law has allowed Arizona to expand eligibility to residents who earn between 100 and 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

In 2015, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge also upheld the law, ruling that the hospital assessment that funds the program is not subject to Arizona Constitution’s supermajority provision.

The case was brought by 36 Republican legislators who voted against the plan.

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