Lobbing a parting shot in Gov. Jan Brewer’s direction as she leaves office, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that state lawmakers have legal standing to challenge the hospital bed tax that is being used to fund a Medicaid eligibility expansion. Read the Supreme Court’s 14-page Opinion here. All of the three dozen legislators are named on page one.
At stake in the lawsuit is a critical voter-enacted state constitutional protection that requires two-thirds of the legislature to approve tax or fee increases. Arizona’s Medicaid expansion was funded by a new provider tax on hospitals, and it was not approved by the required super-majority of the legislature.
Brewer has argued that the assessment is not subject to the super-majority requirement because it is an “administrative fee” that will be set by the director of Arizona’s Health Care Cost Containment System, not lawmakers per se. Three-dozen lawmakers —- all named in the opening page of the suit —- are represented by the Goldwater Institute, which argues that the super-majority voting requirement should, in fact, apply because the legislature must authorize all new taxes or fees before they can be adjusted by an agency administrator.
The Goldwater Institute, representing the petitioners, has more here.
This is the second legal challenge Brewer’s Medicaid scheme has faced. A Maricopa County Superior Court judge dismissed the lawmakers’ first attempt. Later an appeals court ruled that the lawsuit could go forward and the Arizona Supreme Court agreed. The case will now proceed to trial.
Seeing Red AZ has covered this issue extensively:
Aug. 22, 2013: Are you with OBrewerCare or an extreme fringe group?
July 20, 2013: Obama’s “Affordable Care Act” exposed as costly charade
June 11, 2013: Petulant Brewer holds legislators hostage
June 1, 2013: National Review explains “Brewer’s Tantrum”
May 17, 2013: AZ Senate RINOs cave on OBrewerCare expansion
Apr: 12, 2013: GOP lawmakers tank supporting OBrewerCare
Apr. 9, 2013: New poll: Brewer’s AZ Medicaid expansion on shaky ground
Jan. 21, 2013: Nat’l Review slams Brewer’s ObamaCare $urrender