Gov. Jan Brewer may call a special session to get legislative approval for a lawsuit challenging the health care bill passed by Congress.
Thirteen state attorneys general filed a lawsuit on March 23 challenging the health care bill, and a separate suit was filed by Virginia. Brewer had called on Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard to join the suit, a request Goddard declined on March 24.
“She is now exploring options for exploring legislative consensus with the Governor’s Office that the state should do it and proceed without him,” said Paul Senseman, Brewer’s spokesman. “There would probably be some legislative action, potentially in a special session, that could happen possibly as early as next week.”
The governor likely will make a decision on the special session by the end of the week, Senseman said.
Senseman said Brewer may join the lawsuit filed by the 13 attorneys general, or she may file a separate suit on behalf of the state. Brewer could accept offers she has received from several attorneys who said they will represent the state pro bono, or the state could hire outside counsel if needed, Senseman said.
Conservatives have taken issue with a number of provisions of the health care bill, which President Barack Obama signed on March 23. But Brewer has been most vocal about a provision that would ban states from changing their eligibility standards for Medicaid and other health care programs, which is expected to cost the state about $400 million in the next fiscal year.
Two days before Congress passed the health care bill, Brewer signed a state budget package that cut coverage for about 310,000 under the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program, and eliminated KidsCare, Arizona’s arm of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program. The state was expected to save about $385 million with the AHCCCS cuts and another $20 million by ending KidsCare.