Children’s Health Defense attorneys have filed a lawsuit in Arizona challenging the state’s expansion of Medicaid to children, alleging the expansion is unconstitutional.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix on Monday, alleges Arizona has not provided adequate information about the expansion and that the state is violating federal law and its own public health directives.
The federal lawsuit was filed after the state of Arizona enacted a Medicaid expansion on Jan. 1, which will cover an additional 2.6 million people and cost $10 billion to implement.
It also includes a request for an injunction to prevent Arizona from expanding Medicaid.
“Arizona is violating its own federal public health law and is blatantly violating its obligations to its residents by allowing millions of adults with disabilities to receive a financial benefit that exceeds the cost of providing their health insurance coverage,” said Chris Cagle, an attorney for Children’s Defense Fund.
“It is clear that the Governor’s office and the legislature are intent on moving the goalposts by creating a benefit for the elderly and disabled.”
The lawsuit claims the expansion would result in an increase in Medicaid coverage for children, the elderly, the disabled and the underinsured.
The expansion is a major piece of President Donald Trump’s health care agenda, which aims to expand Medicaid coverage to more than 20 million low-income adults.
Arizona has said the expansion will help offset the cost to cover low- and moderate-income people, who are more likely to have health insurance.
The state is required by law to give at least 10 months notice before expanding Medicaid coverage, and it will begin covering Medicaid residents on Jan 30, 2019.
In the lawsuit, Cagle said the Arizona expansion is “unconstitutionally discriminatory” and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Children’s Defence Fund is seeking unspecified damages in the lawsuit.
Childrens Defense Fund is an Arizona-based nonprofit health care advocacy group that focuses on children’s health.
The group is based in Tucson and works to ensure that families are treated with dignity and respect, and that all children have access to quality health care.