|Gov. Jan Brewer wants to cut state funding for universities by 20 percent and aid to community colleges by about half to deal with a $1.1 billion deficit this coming fiscal year.
Brewer also proposed today eliminating free care for about 280,000 individuals now enrolled in the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, virtually all of them adults. There would be no reduction care for children, pregnant women, the aged, blind and disabled.
But that change is contingent on approval from the Obama administration, something that is far from certain.
The federal health care law approved last year forbids states from trimming eligibility in their existing Medicaid programs. Brewer is counting on getting a waiver.
John Arnold, the governor's budget director, said if the waiver is not granted, then the state is stuck with $1 billion in annual expenses it cannot afford. At that point, he said, lawmakers will be stuck with two alternatives: Slash other state funding by that much more or eliminate the AHCCCS program entirely, giving up $7 billion each year in federal aid.