Ariz. gov calling special session on Medicaid cut

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PHOENIX (AP) -- Gov. Jan Brewer is calling legislators into special session Wednesday to authorize her to request a federal waiver that would permit Arizona to reduce its Medicaid enrollment by about a fifth.

The proposed suspension of eligibility for 280,000 people is a key element of Brewer's budget-balancing plan.

The Legislature's 2011 regular session is under way, but Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman says authorizing the waiver request during a concurrent special session would allow the request to reach federal officials sooner.

The coverage suspension would begin Oct. 1 and save the state an estimated $541.5 million, or half of the $1.1 billion shortfall that Brewer has projected for the fiscal year that begins July 1.