Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

U.S. won’t reconsider snag on Arizona stimulus cash

PHOENIX – The federal government on Thursday rebuffed Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s request for reconsideration of a federal finding that threatens to deprive the state of $1.6 billion of additional Medicaid money provided through the federal stimulus program unless the state reverses a health care eligibility change.

Acting Health and Human Services Secretary Charles Johnson Jr. told Brewer in a letter that he won’t reconsider a finding that a state eligibility requirement for some Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System enrollees violates the stimulus law’s requirement for “maintenance of effort.”

Johnson said Arizona needs to undo a 2008 change it made that requires some adult enrollees to be recertified for eligibility every six months instead of annually. That was a prohibited restriction on eligibility, Johnson said.

The recertification requirement must be returned to every 12 months by next July 1 or the state won’t be eligible for the Medicaid money, Johnson said.

Another federal official had previously warned the state that it would have to repay the $300 million it had already received.

Brewer’s office said Thursday the governor will “work with legislative leaders to discuss potential solutions,” and spokesman Paul Senseman said Brewer is willing to have the recertification provision changed.

Brewer had argued that the recertification requirement wasn’t a federally prohibited change that restricts eligibility because it didn’t deny benefits to anybody still eligible. She also noted that it was approved by the Legislature before a July 1, 2008, cutoff set retroactively by the stimulus law and that it shouldn’t’ matter that it didn’t take effect until fall.

The $1.6 billion of additional Medicaid money for AHCCCS represents nearly 40 percent of the state’s expected allotment of stimulus money.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

Search site | Terms of service