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Judge sets date to hear Medicaid expansion lawsuit

Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signs the Medicaid expansion law, June 17, in Phoenix. The law expands the state's Medicaid program following her victory over conservatives in her own party opposed to embracing a key part of President Obama's health care overhaul. (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signs the Medicaid expansion law, June 17, in Phoenix. The law expands the state’s Medicaid program following her victory over conservatives in her own party opposed to embracing a key part of President Obama’s health care overhaul. (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

A judge will hear arguments in a lawsuit seeking to block Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s Medicaid expansion plan early next month.

Maricopa County Superior Court judge Katherine Cooper set a Dec. 9 date to hear the suit filed in September on behalf of 36 Republican state lawmakers and a pair of citizens.

The suit targets Brewer’s plan to expand the state’s health care program for the poor to about 300,000 additional Arizonans.

The conservative GOP lawmakers argue that a hospital assessment used to pay the state’s costs is a tax requiring a 2/3 vote of the Legislature under the state Constitution.

Brewer’s lawyers want Cooper to throw out the suit. They say the plaintiffs don’t have standing to sue and lawmakers could sue to stop any law it moves forward.

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