Arkansas Officials: No Limit On Halting Private Option

Feb 4, 2014

Arkansas Human Services officials say the federal government can't prevent the state from ending a compromise Medicaid expansion plan that was approved last year and now is at risk of being defunded by the Legislature.

DHS officials told lawmakers on Tuesday that there's no time restriction for the state to end the "private option" that was approved last year as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health care law.

Under the private option, Arkansas is using federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for thousands of low-income residents. The plan is at risk of being defunded when the Legislature convenes on Feb. 10.

Opponents of the plan have questioned whether the federal waiver for the program complies with the state law authorizing it.