Arizona

Mar 6, 2013 3:18 AM by Associated Press

Brewer, Medicaid expansion backers at Capitol

PHOENIX - Gov. Jan Brewer brought supporters Tuesday to the state Capitol to rally behind her plan to expand Medicaid to about 300,000 more Arizonans.

But Brewer likely will have major problems getting her way, based on comments from top leaders in the Republican-controlled Arizona Senate and House.

Tuesday's rally of health care professionals was the latest effort by the Republican governor to sway lawmakers to back her plan. It would take advantage of $1.6 billion in new federal funding by assessing hospitals more than $150 million a year to pay for the state's share of costs.

House Speaker Andy Tobin and Senate President Andy Biggs say the governor's reliance on the hospital assessment, which she hopes to impose as a fee, is a tax that requires a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to approve.

That raises the bar substantially for passage.

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