Federal health officials dealt a blow to opponents of Medicaid expansion Thursday, saying they're unlikely to fund a slimmed-down version of the state's indigent-health-care program as the political battle over the issue intensified.
Gov. Jan Brewer declared the federal announcement a game-changer in the debate, which is holding up a new state budget. She told GOP legislative leaders to stop delaying a vote on Medicaid expansion and move swiftly to present her expansion plan to lawmakers.
Senate President Andy Biggs rejected the governor's calls, and during a rally on the House lawn, expansion opponents played down the news from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Local Republican Party officials and "tea party" members cheered as GOP lawmakers pilloried Brewer's plan and said Arizona can do better on its own.