After a marathon session that lasted until nearly 4 in the morning on Thursday, the Arizona House approved a plan backed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer to expand Medicaid under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act by providing health insurance coverage to an additional 350,000 low-income Arizonans.
The 33-27 vote followed 9 hours of debate and fiery pleas by conservative Republicans who wanted to kill the expansion and break the bipartisan coalition that ultimately pushed it to victory, according to the Arizona Republic.
“I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut,” Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko told the paper. “And I feel like I’ve been betrayed.”
The bill must now pass through the Senate, which is scheduled to vote on it Thursday morning. If it passes, and Brewer signs it into law as expected, she would become the second Republican governor to push Medicaid expansion through a GOP-controlled legislature and Arizona would become the 21st state to expand Medicaid under the ACA.
The House also approved a $8.8 billion budget Thursday morning.