Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed emergency legislation authorizing her to request a two-year waiver from the CMS to reduce Medicaid rolls by 280,000 people.
Brewer said in a statement she intends to request the waiver as early as Monday. She added that she plans to meet with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in the coming weeks to discuss “the dire need for a Medicaid waiver for Arizona.”
The state is facing a $1.1 billion budget deficit for fiscal 2012. The waiver would allow Brewer to bypass a requirement in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that says states must maintain current Medicaid eligibility requirements to receive federal funds. Expected savings would be $541 million this fiscal year with cuts to begin Oct. 1, according to the governor’s budget proposal.
“I am mindful of the very real impacts these reductions will have, but given our state’s current fiscal situation and the solutions enacted to date, I truly believe this is Arizona’s only option to restore our fiscal stability,” Brewer said in a news release.