PHOENIX — The Latest on a legal challenge to a hospital fee that helps pay for Arizona’s Medicaid expansion (all times local):
The fate of a hospital assessment that helps pay for a Medicaid expansion plan that now covers 400,000 additional Arizona residents is now in the hands of the Arizona Supreme Court.
The high court heard the challenge brought by Republican lawmakers on Thursday. They argued that the hospital fee is actually a tax that required a 2/3 vote under a voter-approved 1992 Constitutional amendment.
Former Gov. Jan Brewer pushed Medicaid expansion through the Legislature in 2013 but only got a majority of lawmakers to vote for it.
The state’s Medicaid agency argued that an exemption for fees set by state agencies means the hospital assessment is legal. Lower courts agreed with that argument.
The justices did not indicate when they would issue a ruling.
The Arizona Supreme Court is set to hear a challenge from Republican state lawmakers to the Medicaid expansion pushed through the Legislature four years ago by then-Gov. Jan Brewer.
The state’s highest court will hear arguments on Thursday.
The state court of appeals ruled against the lawmakers, saying a hospital assessment that pays the state costs of insuring more than 400,000 low-income residents is constitutional.
Republican lawmakers who sued call the assessment a tax requiring a two-thirds majority vote to pass.
Brewer battled fellow Republicans in the Legislature for months in 2013 over the expansion.
The Goldwater Institute is representing the GOP lawmakers.