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Arizona Will Tax Hospitals to Cover Medicaid Expense

Brewer, the conservative Republican, is thought to be the first governor who has publically found a way to fund the controversial expansion of Medicaid

Brewer, the conservative Republican, is thought to be the first governor who has publically found a way to fund the controversial expansion of Medicaid

January 21, 2013 – Jan Brewer the Governor of Arizona has fashioned her political career on standing up to the Washington over everything from healthcare to immigration. She therefore surprised nearly everyone when she made an announcement that she not only is planning to push to expand the Medicaid program in the state, but she is planning to help fund it by increasing taxes.

Brewer, the conservative Republican, is thought to be the first governor who has publically found a way to fund the controversial expansion of Medicaid. Not even Jerry Brown, the Governor of California and a Democrat, in a state that for the most part supports the new health plan from the federal government, has come up with an idea of how to cover the cost for the Medicaid plan.

Her idea of adding over 300,000 Arizonans with low-income to the Medicaid plan in the state relies on the state getting funding from the provider tax that the state will charge hospitals. The idea already is used to help fund some plans of Medicaid in 39 states, but none of those states has tapped into it to pay for the expansion of Medicaid.

The expansion of Medicaid is intended to give up to 50% of the nearly 30 million people uninsured coverage under the new healthcare overhaul by President Obama. The law increased the coverage of Medicaid to those low income earners who earn up to 138% of the poverty level set by the federal government or $15,400 per year for just a single person.

Seventeen states plus Washington D.C. have chosen to expand Medicaid rolls however, few are explaining how they plan to pay for the expansion. Some governors from the Republican Party including Texas Governor Rick Perry, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley have decided to not increase Medicaid rolls in their states. They have cited costs and philosophical differences as their reasons for opting out.

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