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Speaker Tobin key to Medicaid expansion deal

PHOENIX -- Gov. Jan Brewer's proposal to expand the state's Medicaid program to 300,000 more poor Arizonans may pass or fail based on just one person in the Legislature.

That person is Republican House Speaker Andy Tobin.

The trick for Brewer is figuring out just what Tobin wants in exchange for his support.

Tobin has talked repeatedly about making sure hospitals don't pass on to insurers a new tax that will pay for the state's expansion costs. He worries about the state Medicaid director having unchecked power to raise the tax. And he is pushing tax cuts for insurers.

But so far he hasn't said exactly what he wants to support the proposal.

The Medicaid proposal and the budget are the two big issues left for the Legislature this session.

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