Appeals court says copayments violate federal law
Web Producer: Ina Ronquillo
PHOENIX (AP) - Charging Arizona's poorest residents mandatory health care copayments has been ruled a violation of federal law by a three judge federal appeals court panel.
The court ruled Wednesday that federal health officials failed to show how the copays served any purpose besides cutting Arizona's Medicaid budget, reports The Arizona Republic.
Federal law gives the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary the discretion to approve state Medicaid "waivers" as long as the programs have a "research or demonstration value."
The judge's on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said raising copayments for more than 200,000 of Arizona's poorest residents and making them mandatory helped balance the state budget but didn't meet that federal standard.
The Arizona Republic also reports that federal officials have two weeks to decide whether to appeal or provide more information to the court in hopes of having the copays upheld.