Immigration Factored Into Arizona Medicaid Expansion

When Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer surprised many by expanding her state's Medicaid program, she may have done so in part to ensure legal immigrants didn't get better health benefits than poor citizens, according to a document released by her office.

Previously, legal aliens below the federal poverty level did not qualify for Arizona's Medicaid program, but President Barack Obama's health law allows legal immigrants to qualify for federal subsidies if they purchase plans through states' online health insurance exchanges. That means U.S. citizens in Arizona under the poverty level would not have qualified for the same benefits as legal immigrants.

Gov. Brewer defended her decision to expand the program despite other GOP governors' resistance, arguing it would bring in revenue that would help businesses and reduce uncompensated care.

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