From Our 2013 Archives

Arizona OK's Medicaid Expansion

Move Will Extend Health Care to 300,000 Residents Under Affordable Care Act

By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Lisa Zamosky

June 18, 2013 -- Arizona lawmakers have approved Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

The expansion vote, which took place during a special state budget session last week, allows more Arizonans with low incomes to qualify for health insurance coverage.

Although Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer opposes the Affordable Care Act, she lobbied hard for months for Medicaid expansion.

By expanding Medicaid, Arizona will enable about 300,000 residents to obtain or keep health care benefits.

"I am grateful to the Arizona lawmakers who have acted with courage and conviction by completing the people's business," Brewer said in a statement.

"With landmark votes today in the House and Senate, legislatures have tacked the issue that is Job One of every session -- adoption of a responsible state budget -- and enacted Arizona's most sweeping health care legislation in decades."

Brewer sees Medicaid expansion as a way to provide cost-effective care to Arizona's working poor.

Not everyone agrees. Republican State Sen. Kelli Ward told the Associated Press the decision was "the biggest mistake we've made in the Arizona Legislature this year and maybe ever."

Each state decides whether to participate in the Medicaid expansion. The new rules will extend benefits to individuals with an income of $15,856 and a family of three with an income up to $26,951.

SOURCES: News releases, Office of the Arizona Governor. Kaiser Family Foundation: "Quick Take: Who Benefits from the ACA Medicaid Expansion?" "Status of State Action on the Medicaid Expansion Decision, as of June 17, 2013." Yahoo News: "Arizona Gov. Brewer secures Medicaid expansion." Matthew Benson, director of communications, Office of the Arizona Governor.

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