Arkansas Panel Advances Private Option Bill

Feb 13, 2014

An Arkansas legislative panel has advanced the funding bill for the state's compromise Medicaid expansion.

The Joint Budget Committee on Thursday recommended passing the measure, which would keep the state's "private option" alive for another year.

Under the private option, Arkansas is using federal Medicaid money to purchase private insurance for thousands of low-income residents. The private option was approved as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law.

The proposal still faces an uncertain future after losing key votes in the state Senate. The House could vote on the legislation as early as Tuesday.

The measure includes amendments aimed at swaying opponents of the expansion, including a ban on any promotion or advertising about the private option using public money.