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Arizona Supreme Court rejects GOP lawmakers' suit to overturn state's Medicaid expansion

The Arizona Supreme Court on Friday in an unanimous decision rejected a bid from a group of 36 current and former Republican lawmakers to overturn the state's Medicaid expansion. 

The lawmakers argued that a hospital assessment used to pay the state's portion of the Medicaid expansion is a tax that required a two-thirds legislative majority to enact. The 2013 Legislature narrowly approved the assessment.

However, the state's high court rejected that claim, upholding a lower court's ruling.

The GOP lawmakers' challenge could have jeopardized health care for about 400,000 low-income Arizonans who gained insurance coverage under the Medicaid expansion.

"It is a huge victory for Arizona’s budget and stability," said former Gov. Brewer in a phone interview from Washington, D.C. "I feel good that Arizonans will continue to receive health care because of the decision. ... It met the test of doing the right thing, which almost always means doing the hard thing."

Court Certifies Class in Foster Care Litigation

U. S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver granted class-action status in the litigation that the Center filed 2 ½ years ago against the state, on behalf of a number of foster children. The ruling (available here) was issued September 30, 2017. A trial is expected in spring 2018.  

According to Center attorney Anne Ronan, “it's no longer about one, two or three foster children; rather, it's about the thousands of children in Arizona's foster-care system, as well as any children who will enter the system in the future.” The Court certified three classes:  1) the General Class: All children who are or will be in the legal custody of DCS due to a report or suspicion of abuse or neglect; 2) the Non-Kinship Subclass: All members in the General Class who are not placed in the care of an adult relative or person who has a significant relationship with the child; and 3) the Medicaid Subclass: All members of the General Class who are entitled to early and periodic screening, diagnostic, and treatment services under the federal Medicaid statute.

Arizona had nearly 17,000 children in foster care as of March 31, 2017, its latest report shows. In August, 900 children entered the system when they were removed from their homes due to allegations of abuse and neglect, according to the Department of Child Safety. 

 

Civil Rights

Arizona Supreme Court Grants Petition for Review in Medicaid Expansion Case

On September 12, 2017, the Arizona Supreme Court issued an order granting review of the Court of Appeals’ decision in the Medicaid Expansion case. The Court of Appeals held in March 2017 that the bill authorizing the hospital assessment was constitutional and did not require a supermajority vote.  The parties submitted their supplemental briefs on October 2nd and the Court will hear oral argument on October 26th.  

 

Health Care