Obama administration unlikely to block Arizona plan to cut 250,000 from Medicaid rolls
I can’t wait to hear the wails of dismay from those pasty, pipe-stem arms guys with the Toy barns in Lake Havasu when they find out that this also might affect them.
Gov. Jan Brewer (R) formally requested a federal waiver from the provision last month to make the cut. But in a letter dated Tuesday, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius wrote that no waiver is necessary, because the provision does not apply to Arizona’s somewhat unusual circumstances.
The decision could further embolden the other 28 Republican governors who recently released a letter charging that the health-care law’s Medicaid provisions impose crushing costs at a time when many states are grappling with budget shortfalls.
However, advocates for the poor noted that only about a dozen states have Medicaid programs with the particular set of features that would enable Arizona to trim its rolls. In one of those states, Indiana, the deputy chief of staff to Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) said he was not planning to follow Arizona’s example. And it is not clear that leaders of any other eligible states are interested either.
“Certainly we are keeping a watchful eye on a handful of states that might wish to go in this direction,” said Joan Alker, co-executive director of the Georgetown Center for Children and Families. “But Arizona is in a very unique situation … so it’s my hope that [it] continues to be an outlier.”