Brewer appeals ruling in Medicaid expansion suit - CBS 5 - KPHO

Brewer appeals ruling in Medicaid expansion suit

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Gov. Jan Brewer Gov. Jan Brewer
PHOENIX (CBS5/AP) -

Gov. Jan Brewer is appealing a ruling that revived a lawsuit challenging her expansion of the state's Medicaid insurance plan for the poor.

Brewer's lawyers asked the Arizona Supreme Court to overturn the ruling on Wednesday.

The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled last month that lawmakers have the right to sue over a hospital assessment that funds the expansion. Republicans in the House and Senate sued last year, arguing that the assessment is essentially a tax that required a two-thirds majority vote to pass. Only a bare majority passed the expansion.

In February, a Maricopa County judge had dismissed the case, saying lawmakers did not have the right to sue. The appeals court rejected that decision and sent the case back to Judge Katherine Cooper for more action.

Brewer released this statement Wednesday:

"I am hopeful that the Arizona Supreme Court will agree to review the Court of Appeal's decision. Permitting the appellate decision to stand confuses and misapplies existing Arizona Supreme Court case law and would set a disturbing precedent in Arizona - one that would result in our courts acting as referees in the legislative process, and also opening a Pandora's box for future baseless, politically-charged lawsuits.

"More importantly, should the implementation of the Medicaid Restoration Plan be prevented, it would throw approximately 150,000 Arizonans (and climbing) off of health insurance, thereby preventing them from receiving critical, cost-effective healthcare through our model AHCCCS program; defy the will of the Arizona voters, who have twice voted to require Medicaid eligibility for all Arizonans at or below one hundred percent of the federal poverty level; threaten the viability of our state's rural and safety net hospitals; and decimate our state budget, undermining our ability to fund critical areas including child safety, education, public safety and services to Arizona's most vulnerable populations.

"Simply put, the end result of allowing this challenge to proceed by these legislator plaintiffs would be a blow to our citizens who overwhelmingly support the bi-partisan and critical restoration plan - particularly those whose access to necessary healthcare hangs in the balance. I am optimistic the Arizona Supreme Court will review this crucial matter and reaffirm its well-established precedent, and prevent the legislative and public policy process from being held hostage by a minority of upset state lawmakers who lost a political debate."

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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