Arizona Medicaid Recipients Want To Be Part Of Lawsuit On Program

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 4:52pm

Arizona Medicaid recipients want to be added as defendants to the Legislature’s lawsuit about the program.

In 2013, several Republican lawmakers sued former Gov. Jan Brewer and the director of the Medicaid system, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, claiming the expansion was illegal. Now her successor, Gov. Doug Ducey has withdrawn from the case leaving Director Tom Betlach as the sole defendant.

More than 35 legislators are arguing the AHCCCS expansion was unconstitutional because it was a tax increase.

A 1992 voter approved law requires a 2/3 vote by the Legislature to impose a new tax. The expansion passed with only a simple majority.

Attorney Tim Hogan is representing four AHCCCS clients. He said  they’re concerned about Betlach defending their interests.

 “We filed a lawsuit a few years back when the state was trying to remove childless adults from AHCCCS and it was Betlach who defended the state, which is another reason why are doubtful about their interest in vigorously defending this," Hogan said.

Hogan said since Betlach didn’t defend the nearly 150,000 childless adults that were removed from AHCCCS in 2011, his clients don’t trust him to defend their interests. Hogan fears the case will be litigated by the government and not by direct beneficiaries of the law. Oral arguments are set for July.

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