Attorney Tim Hogan said he will file his long-awaited lawsuit against an upcoming round of Medicaid cuts by the end of month, giving the courts a chance to stop the proposal before the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System can implement a partial enrollment freeze on July 1.
Hogan, an attorney with the liberal advocacy group the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, argued that the plan violates Proposition 204, a 2000 ballot measure that dramatically expanded AHCCCS eligibility, and plans to ask the Arizona Supreme Court for an injunction. He said the last step before filing is determining which plaintiffs he will represent.
“We do have plaintiffs, but we don’t have a final group of plaintiffs,” he said.
For Gov. Jan Brewer and GOP lawmakers, the lawsuit is unwelcome but expected, and some are contemplating a return to the Capitol for a special session if Hogan is able to get an injunction against the plan.
“There’s not a contingency plan. We remain confident in the legality of the governor’s proposal,” said Matthew Benson, a spokesman for Brewer.
Sen. Andy Biggs said it’s difficult to plan without knowing the precise details of Hogan’s lawsuit. Biggs, a Gilbert Republican, said more budget cuts will be necessary if Hogan wins his suit, but didn’t know exactly where those cuts might come from.
“There are some pretty stark options,” Biggs said. “To talk about cuts is an interesting thing, but the reality is we’re not quite sure what Mr. Hogan’s lawsuit is going to look like.”
The AHCCCS plan, which lawmakers approved in March as part of the budget, would cut about $520 million from the state’s Medicaid plan through an enrollment freeze for childless adults, reduced state payments to health care providers and other provisions. Hogan argued that the enrollment freeze – which, at nearly $200 million, represents the largest chunk of the plan – violates Proposition 204.