Ariz. health care fight aligns Obama with ex-rival

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By BOB CHRISTIE and CRISTINA SILVA, Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Legislature has begun debate on a state budget and proposed Medicaid expansion that has divided the state's Republican leadership.

A newly formed coalition of Democrats and GOP moderates pushing the Medicaid overhaul introduced new budget bills late Wednesday and refused to answer questions from opponents.

Conservatives proposed more than 50 amendments but don't appear to have the votes to stop Medicaid expansion or the budget deal.

Republican Gov. Jan Brewer called lawmakers into special session Tuesday evening and ordered them to focus just on those two issues.

Brewer shocked many by announcing she was embracing a signature part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul in January after years battling against it.

The Medicaid plan would add about 300,000 people to the state's coverage.

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