Arizona gov. opts for federal Medicaid expansion - Fox 2 News Headlines

Arizona gov. opts for federal Medicaid expansion

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Gov. Jan Brewer, State of the State address Gov. Jan Brewer, State of the State address

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer plans to push for an expansion of the state's Medicaid program under the federal health care law.

Brewer has opposed the federal health care law known as the Affordable Care Act, citing worries over a potential overreliance on federal funding.

But Brewer told lawmakers in her annual State of the State address on Monday that virtually all of the expansion would be funded by the federal government.

She said increase would also include a "circuit-breaker" that would automatically roll back enrollment if federal reimbursement rates decrease.

"It's a step in the right direction, obviously the devil is always in the details and we'll have to see the proposal from her, but it's a very good sign the governor's talking about pursuing medicaid expansion," said Democratic House Minority Leader Rep. Chad Campbell.

Brewer's decision is being closely watched by other Republican governors who are weighing a similar decision.

Seventeen states and Washington D.C. have now signed onto the expansion, and nine have opted out. The rest are weighing the decision.

Statement of Betsey Bayless, President and CEO of the Maricopa Integrated Health System

This is a historic moment and I applaud Gov. Brewer for her politically courageous decision to expand Arizona's Medicaid program, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. The Governor has recognized the staggering human cost to Arizona families without health insurance and the increasing financial burden to hospitals can only be alleviated by taking strong action. The Governor also recognizes that AHCCCS is a national model and "gold standard" for cost-effective, managed care.

It is to the Governor's credit that she has stepped forward and taken this position so forthrightly. The people of Arizona are well served by Gov. Brewer and her commitment to the people of this state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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