Judge rules that Arizona can move forward with Medicaid cuts

A judge in Arizona has upheld the state's plans to initiate deeps cuts in its Medicaid program, overriding a voter-approved initiative to preserve coverage, the Arizona Republic reports.

An enrollment cap on childless adults will be kept in place, leading to cuts of about 110,000 from the state's Medicaid rolls. Arizona is trying to slash $500 million from its Medicaid program. Dropping adults would save about $190 million towards that goal.
Medicaid advocates had sued the state, claiming the move violated a 2000 ballot proposition that requires healthcare coverage for Arizonans living below the poverty level.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Mark Brian ruled that the law does not compel the legislature to pay for such coverage. Brian also rejected an argument that an amendment in the state's constitution that prohibits tampering with ballot initiative would apply. He said in his ruling that the amendment prevents the legislature from taking certain actions, but cannot force them to take action.

The Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest said it would appeal the decision.

For more information:
- Read the Arizona Republic story
- Read the story on the initial lawsuit

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