AZ Senate passes budget with Medicaid - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

AZ Senate passes budget with Medicaid

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The Republican-controlled Arizona Senate has passed a historic measure that embraces a signature part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The $8.8 billion state budget approved on Thursday night includes expanding Medicaid to 300,000 additional Arizonans. Five Republicans joined with all the Democrats to pass measure despite opposition from Senate President Andy Biggs.

Republicans also split on the budget itself although they crafted the plan because conservatives opposed the Medicaid plan.

Expansion supporters added Medicaid to a budget bill during an hours-long debate Thursday afternoon.

The Senate's 13 Democrats backed the plan.

Republican Gov. Jan Brewer shocked many when she announced in January she wanted to expand Medicaid after opposing Obama's health care overhaul for years.

The House next takes up the plan. Speaker Andy Tobin wants voters to decide the Medicaid expansion debate.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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