Arizona cannot charge co-pays to needy residents

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 19, 2011

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A federal appeals court has ruled that Arizona's plan to charge 200,000 of its poorest residents mandatory health care co-payments violates federal law.

Arizona lawmakers in 2003 approved charging the co-pays, which ranged from $4 to $30, to certain groups of residents covered under the state's Medicaid program. The measure allowed those providing Medicaid to decline serving patients who could not afford the co-pays.

A group of residents affected by the measure sued the state and the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, which had approved the payments.

In its Aug. 24 opinion, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that although the plan would help balance the state's budget, the measure did not meet the standards of Medicaid law (link).

At this article's deadline, the state had not indicated whether it plans to appeal.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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