The Republican chairman of the Senate Insurance and Commerce Committee says he believes Arkansas lawmakers should delay voting on a proposal to tap federal Medicaid money to buy private health care insurance for low-income residents.
Sen. Jason Rapert of Conway told reporters he believes lawmakers should recess for about three weeks to brief the public on the "private option" proposal being considered as an alternative to expanding Medicaid's enrollment under the federal health care law.
Thunderstorms sweeping through Arkansas flipped an 18-wheeler and damaged homes in the north-central portion of the state.
The National Weather Service said four people were reported injured Wednesday evening after a tornado hit Van Buren County. Tornado damage was reported at Botkinburg, Mount Olive, and Scotland, with a tractor-trailer flipped over near Botkinburg.
John Robinson of the National Weather Service said 30 homes were damaged in Van Buren County and that five people were injured. Three were treated at a hospital and released.
The Arkansas House is expected to vote Thursday on a plan to provide private health insurance coverage with federal money for low income Arkansans. The plan's implementation hinges on a tougher vote expected Friday.
The vote to enable the expansion is expected to pass the House with the needed 51 votes. Approval is easier than allowing the expansion to be funded, which takes a budget appropriation requiring 75 votes.