Arkansas DHS Director John Selig and the state's Medicaid Director Andy Allison told reporters Monday that private insurance would cost only up to 15 percent more than Medicaid coverage for about 250,000 Arkansans earning 100-138 percent of the federal poverty level.
Expansion of health coverage under the so-called “private option” for insuring more Arkansans under the federal health care law may be less expensive than originally thought according to a new estimate.
John Selig, director of the state’s Department of Human Services says the study done with the Arkansas Insurance Department and consulting groups found that in Arkansas specifically, the cost of private insurance coverage would not be nearly as high when compared to Medicaid, as originally expected.
Arkansas House Speaker Davy Carter says the House and Senate are working to develop between $50 million and $60 million in tax cuts in each chamber.
The House on Monday passed the first of its proposed tax reductions, one that would benefit poultry and catfish producers. Carter, a Republican from Cabot, says there are still no specifics available on what state spending will be cut.
Carter says the spending cuts have to be considered in light of Gov. Mike Beebe's proposed budget and potential future spending needs.
Bill Halter, the only declared Democratic candidate for Arkansas Governor, previewed his first major policy plan of the 2014 campaign on Talk Business Arkansas Sunday night.
Halter will advocate for “The Arkansas Promise,” a college scholarship program that will provide full tuition for any Arkansas student who maintains a 2.5 grade point average and attends college in state. The scholarship match would equal tuition costs at the highest four-year public university in Arkansas.
Officials with the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services report a slight increase in the state’s unemployment rate. Department spokeswoman Kimberly Friedman says unemployment in Arkansas was up by one tenth of a percentage point from 7.1 percent in December to 7.2 percent in January.
A federal judge has granted a request to postpone the trial of two former Little Rock police officers facing drug-related charges.
Court records show that half-brothers Mark Anthony Jones and Randall Tremayn Robinson are now slated to go on trial July 15. Jones and Robinson were previously scheduled to go on trial this week.
Prosecutors say the men drove marked patrol cars while protecting controlled drug deliveries. They have both pleaded not guilty to drug-related charges. Robinson resigned from the police department and Jones was fired.