/ Modified jul 28, 2016 4:32 p.m.

Lawsuit: State Improperly Reduces Immigrant Health Care

Up to 3,500 refugees, asylum seekers and immigrant crime victims may be affected.

A federal lawsuit was filed Thursday claiming that Arizona’s affordable health care program is excluding immigrants in the state.

The suit names the director of Arizona’s Health Care Cost Containment System, known as AHCCCS, and two immigrants as plaintiffs, alleging AHCCCS reduced coverage provided under Medicaid.

Federal Medicaid rules require that certain immigrants, including refugees, asylum seekers and some immigrant victims, must be allowed full access to Medicaid. The plaintiffs said immigrants have been reduced to emergency only coverage.

"Emergency only does not provide coverage for like you know, just regular prescription medications or doctor’s visits, which is what most people need," said lawyer Ellie Katz, with the William Morris Institute for Justice in Phoenix.

The suit said that last October, AHCCCS admitted it had improperly reduced coverage for about 3,500 immigrants in Arizona, but that no action has been taken to reverse the mistake.

An AHCCCS official declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

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