Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, June 16, 2011

AHCCCS cuts

Many Arizonans already know that the state legislature along with Gov. Brewer enacted a budget for the upcoming fiscal year (beginning July 1) that drastically reduces the enrollment in AHCCCS, the state's Medicaid program to provide health care to low-income citizens.

On May 23rd, Tim Hogan filed a special action in the Arizona Supreme Court saying those cuts are unconstitutional and asking the state's highest court to block the cuts.  At that time, the Court scheduled the case for next fall, just to consider accepting jurisdiction.  Because the cuts are due to be enacted two weeks from now, Hogan today filed a motion for expedited consideration and for an injunction to prevent the state from cutting the enrollment. 

Additionally, attorney John Dacey, a partner at Gammage and Burnham (Lisa Hauser's law firm), filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Arizona Council of Human Service Providers and the Maricopa Consumer Advocates and Providers to provide the Court "more background on voters' continuing support for [AHCCCS] coverage even during these difficult economic times."

Hogan's motion argues that there is a strong likelihood that low income Arizonans will be unlawfully denied coverage on July 1; that the balance of hardships weighs heavily in favor of the petitioners; and that there is strong likelihood of success on the merits of the case.  Therefore, based on those arguments, the motion asks the Court to immediately enjoin the AHCCCS from denying health care to any eligible person as defined in statute (in ARS 36-2901.01(A)) as any person whose income is below 100 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

ARS 36-2901.01(A) specifically notes that the voters or the legislature may change the eligibility statute, but only to make it MORE inclusive, not less.

When the Court responds to today's filings, I'll post about it.

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