Arizona on Tuesday became the first state to officially ask the federal government's permission to eliminate Medicaid coverage for hundreds of thousands of low-income residents in an effort to close a massive budget gap. In a four-page letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and an accompanying 19-page proposal to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Gov. Jan Brewer says she needs relief from a federal mandate requiring states to maintain current eligibility levels. Arizona wants to drop 280,000 recipients from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System by Oct. 1. Brewer's office has said the move is necessary because Arizona is facing a $763.6 million deficit in the current fiscal year and a $1.15 million deficit in fiscal 2012.