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Arizona waits for word on partial Medicaid freeze

Arizona officials await federal clearance to take the first concrete step to reduce the state’s Medicaid program — an enrollment freeze that starting Sunday would prevent new signups by people hammered by large health care expenses.

People currently enrolled in the so-called “spend-down population” would still receive coverage.

The state doesn’t need federal approval to reduce enrollment in optional parts of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, but implementation processes are subject to federal review.

The new state budget approved by the Legislature authorizes Gov. Jan Brewer to make changes to the Medicaid funding to fit available funding.

Brewer’s plan is built around enrollment freezes that are projected to reduce enrollment by approximately 140,000 people.

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