Arizona governor calls for more limited Medicaid cuts

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 11, 2011

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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on March 31 asked the Dept. of Health and Human Services for permission to freeze Medicaid enrollment for childless adults and parents and charge a $50 annual fee to Medicaid enrollees who smoke, among other co-payments.

Brewer's latest plan to reduce the state's Medicaid spending is less drastic than earlier proposals that, for example, would have ended coverage for the 220,000 childless adults in the state's Medicaid program. The enrollment freeze instead would result in 100,000 childless adults losing coverage beginning July 1. The new proposal would freeze Medicaid enrollment for parents earning between 75% and 100% of the federal poverty limit, meaning about 30,000 parents would lose coverage beginning Oct. 1, said Monica Coury, assistant director of intergovernmental relations for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state's Medicaid agency.

Brewer's request comes about a month after HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius indicated that the department would be flexible about Arizona and other cash-strapped states allowing some expanded state Medicaid coverage to expire.

The Arizona request is available online: (link).

Note: This item originally appeared at

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