PHOENIX (AP) — The longtime head of Arizona’s Medicaid program is retiring next year after 27 years of state service.

Tom Betlach will step down as director of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System in January. The program known by the acronym AHCCCS provides health insurance to nearly 1.9 million low-income Arizonans. That’s more than a quarter of the state’s 7 million residents.

Betlach has been director since 2009 and oversaw steep cuts following the Great Recession and then a big expansion under provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Gov. Doug Ducey announced Betlach’s retirement Thursday. He called him a valued “servant leader” whose innovative thinking and institutional knowledge “motivated and inspired.”

Betlach previously served nearly 8 years as the agency’s deputy director and as state budget director for five years.


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