Arizona high court to hand down Medicaid expansion ruling

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(Generic photo: Associated Press) (Generic photo: Associated Press)

The Arizona Supreme Court is set to release a ruling deciding the fate of a hospital assessment that helps pay for Medicaid insurance for 400,000 low-income Arizonans.

The high court on Friday plans to release its decision on a challenge to the Medicaid expansion plan brought by Republican lawmakers. The lawmakers' lawyers argue that the hospital fee is actually a tax that required a 2/3 vote under a voter-approved 1992 Constitutional amendment.

[RELATED: Some states are rolling back 'retroactive Medicaid']

Former Gov. Jan Brewer got only a slim majority of lawmakers to back the plan in 2013.

The state's Medicaid agency argued an exemption for fees set by state agencies means the hospital assessment didn't need a supermajority and is legal. Lower courts agreed with that argument.

[RELATED: AZ leaders voice concerns about health care, state Medicaid program]

Losing the assessment could trigger major enrollment cuts.

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