Gov. Brewer rolls out Medicaid expansion bill - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

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Gov. Brewer rolls out Medicaid expansion bill

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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday (Source: Christina Batson, cbs5az.com) Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday (Source: Christina Batson, cbs5az.com)
PHOENIX (CBS5/AP) -

Gov. Jan Brewer has revealed details of her proposal to expand Medicaid to about 300,000 low-income Arizonans.

Brewer on Tuesday unveiled the bill she hopes lawmakers pass implementing the expansion she's opted to pursue under President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul law.

The bill details how a hospital bed tax she wants to pay the state's share of the expansion cost will work. It also contains sweeteners designed to get support from some fellow Republicans who oppose the concept.

The bill's release comes nearly two months after Brewer surprised many by announcing she backed an expansion. It would tap $1.6 billion in new federal funding by assessing hospitals about $250 million a year to pay for the state's share.

The governor said passage of the Medicaid Restoration Plan will:

- Inject more than $8 billion into the Arizona economy over the next four years.

- Preserve safety net and rural hospitals that have been pushed to the brink by overwhelming costs associated with providing uncompensated care.

- Keep Arizona tax dollars in Arizona.

- Take pressure off our strained state budget.

The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association said it strongly supports Brewer's proposed legislation. Here is there statement in full:

"On behalf of AzHHA and its members, we appreciate Governor Brewer's thoughtful approach on the development of the draft legislation and we stand beside her in strong support of her goal of restoring Proposition 204 and providing cost-effective care to the working poor," said AzHHA President and CEO Greg Vigdor. "The legislation achieves the objectives and safeguards that have been outlined by the Governor, and we will work closely with policymakers to alleviate concerns and build consensus.

"The Governor's proposal respects the will of Arizona voters who support Proposition 204 and providing low-income Arizonans healthcare services they desperately need," said Judy Rich, President and CEO of Tucson's TMC HealthCare and Chair of the AzHHA Board of Directors. "We should not turn our backs on these patients. These are our neighbors, family and friends who cannot obtain basic primary care, medications and treatment to prevent severe illnesses and hospitalization that increase the cost of healthcare for everyone."

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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