State Capitol News
4:47 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Republican Legislators Attempting to Limit Medicaid Access

Unable to block Medicaid expansion, Republican legislators are now trying a different approach. They want to impose new restrictions on who can get care, and for how long. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

House Speaker Andy Tobin
Credit azcapitoltimes.com

Last year’s legislation raises the amount of money someone can earn and still get free health care. This measure approved by the House Committee on Reform and Human services would require state officials to seek federal permission to require able-bodied recipients be employed or in the process of looking for work. And, it would impose an absolute lifetime limit of five years on care for all who can work. House Speaker Andy Tobin said the limit is justified.

“My fear that we are putting people in situations where they never have to leave the home and have their welfare checks show up even though they’re able bodied, have their healthcare covered even though they’re able bodied, and not go out and work when they’re able,” Tobin said.

But, the measure also is crafted so that five-year limit even affects someone stuck in a low-wage job. The same committee also voted to repeal that Medicaid expansion. But, that move is largely meaningless as there are not enough votes in the full House for approval, much less to override a virtually certain veto by Gov. Jan Brewer.