Local & Regional News
10:24 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Arkansas Lawmaker Warns Virginia Against Private Option

File photo of Arkansas House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman.
Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

A top state lawmaker from Arkansas is warning Virginia's legislators against accepting federal dollars intended for expanding Medicaid eligibility, saying his state has buyer's remorse after taking the money.

Leaders in the GOP-controlled Virginia House organized a news conference call Tuesday with Arkansas House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman.

The Virginia Senate has proposed a so-called "private option" similar to one implemented in Arkansas, which was the first state given federal approval to use Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. Republicans in the House have strongly opposed the Senate's plan.

Arkansas' private option plan faces an uncertain future, as state lawmakers are debating whether to reauthorize it for another year.

Westerman says his state rushed to accept the federal dollars, and says Virginia should not do the same.