Arizona Appeals Court Upholds Medicaid Cuts

A three-judge panel for the Arizona Court of Appeals yesterday upheld a lower court's decision to not block cuts to the state's Medicaid program in a case filed by several public interest groups, according to an Arizona Republic report.

In July, state officials announced they would freeze enrollment for childless adults in the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System in order to balance the budget. The move went against a voter-approved ballot measure in 2000 that expanded Medicaid enrollment to all residents living below the poverty level. The proposition called for the use of tobacco settlement funds to pay for the expansion, but the funds fell short of the financing needed for the program, and the legislature determined there were no other available funds to continue to provide coverage beyond what is required by the federal government.

In the panel's ruling, Judge Patricia K. Norris wrote that while the proposition does call for the state to provide additional funds to expand enrollment if the tobacco settlement funds fall short, it does not specify a certain amount, making it impossible for the court to determine if the legislature violated the law.

Related Articles on Arizona Medicaid:

Arizona Court of Appeals to Consider Appeal of Reductions in State Medicaid Program
Feds Reauthorize Arizona's Medicaid Program for Five Years, Wait on Rate Cuts
CMS Approves Arizona's Plan to Cut Medicaid Payments by 5%

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