Arizona Governor Mulls Options for Cutting Medicaid Eligibility
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) said she is considering ways to diminish the effect of her proposal to drop coverage for 250,000 Medicaid beneficiaries to help balance her state's budget, AP/KTAR reports.
On Monday, Brewer met with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss her options (AP/KTAR, 2/28).
In January, Brewer signed legislation authorizing her to request a waiver from a Medicaid provision in the federal health reform law that prohibits states from restricting coverage eligibility before 2014, when all states must begin extending coverage to low-income adults. Under the waiver request, all 250,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in the state who do not have children would no longer be eligible for coverage.
Sebelius in a letter to Brewer last month wrote that the state does not need a formal federal waiver to proceed with a plan to drop the 250,000 childless adults from its Medicaid program. In her letter, Sebelius noted that Arizona in 2000 had enacted a Medicaid expansion with a special time-limited waiver, which expires on Sept. 30, 2011.
When the waiver expires, Arizona is not required to renew it, and the state has the choice to decline a new demonstration waiver or pursue a different waiver, Sebelius wrote (California Healthline, 2/17).
In an interview with the Associated Press, Brewer refused to provide any details, but said the options do not necessarily include scaling back the cut (AP/KTAR, 2/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.