Ariz. health care fight aligns Obama with ex-rival

Arizona lawmakers hold debate on budget, Medicaid plan that has divided state GOP leaders

Associated Press
AZ House passes Medicaid expansion in Brewer win
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Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott, left, rips up an amendment to a bill that is pulled prior to vote, as Rep. Frank Pratt, R-Casa Grande, looks up in a special session budget battle for Medicaid funding on Wednesday, June 12, 2013, in Phoenix. The Arizona Legislature is on track to pull an all-nighter and work into Thursday to finish a state budget and approve Medicaid expansion. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX (AP) -- A coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans has advanced a state budget and Medicaid expansion proposal through the Arizona Senate and House.

The preliminary debate that went on for hours and carried into early Thursday morning represents an unprecedented power shift as GOP moderates joined Democrats to push through Republican Gov. Jan Brewer's budget against the objections of conservative leaders.

Senate President Andy Biggs and House Speaker Andy Tobin have fought Brewer's plan to expand Medicaid to 300,000 more low-income Arizonans for months.

The Legislature is expected to pass a final budget by Thursday afternoon.

Brewer called a surprise special session late Tuesday and ordered lawmakers to revolve the budget debate after months of stalled negotiations.

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