Arkansas House Approves Continuing Private Option, Heads To Governor

Feb 5, 2015

The Arkansas House has given final approval to continuing the state's compromise Medicaid expansion while a proposed task force looks at alternatives for the hundreds of thousands of people covered by the first-in-the-nation initiative.

By an 82-16 vote Thursday, the House voted to reauthorize the state's "private option" Medicaid expansion through June 30, 2016. The task force legislation was approved on an 80-16 vote.

The reauthorization measure heads to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's desk, while the task force bill heads to the Senate.

Under the private option, Arkansas is using federal funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents.

Hutchinson, a Republican who took office last month, had called on lawmakers to continue the program through the end of next year while the proposed task force looks at longer term reforms.