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Expect battle in House over Arizona budget, Medicaid

PHOENIX — The Arizona Legislative session could end next week but not before dealing with the budget and Gov. Jan Brewer’s plan to expand Medicaid.

Arizona House Democratic leader Chad Campbell said the budget and Medicaid will take center stage Monday or Tuesday. He said the Medicaid expansion proposal has been the most contentious issue that he has dealt with in his seven years at the Capitol.

“It’s something that a substantial amount of House Republicans like,” he said. “I have no doubt in my mind that there’s a majority of House members that will vote for the budget and Medicaid package as it came out of the Senate.”

Republican Rep. John Kavanagh strongly opposes the expansion of Medicaid to 300,000 more Arizonans. Unlike Campbell, he doesn’t believe the lengthy session will come to an end next week and maybe not even the week afterward.

“If it passes the House it will go to the Governor’s office. I’m hoping it (Medicaid expansion) fails. If it gets a fair vote and it fails I hope the governor gives up on it and doesn’t drag this out and continue to rip the party apart.”

Kavanagh said House Republicans will try to craft something that is more acceptable than the Senate-passed expansion of Medicaid.