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Speaker Tobin key to Medicaid expansion deal

PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer’s proposal to expand the state’s Medicaid
program to 300,000 more poor Arizonans may pass or fail based on just one person
in the Legislature.

That person is Republican House Speaker Andy Tobin.

The trick for Brewer is figuring out just what Tobin wants in exchange for his
support.

Tobin has talked repeatedly about making sure hospitals don’t pass on to
insurers a new tax that will pay for the state’s expansion costs. He worries
about the state Medicaid director having unchecked power to raise the tax. And
he is pushing tax cuts for insurers.

But so far he hasn’t said exactly what he wants to support the proposal.

The Medicaid proposal and the budget are the two big issues left for the
Legislature this session.

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