Gov. Hutchinson Details Negotiations On Medicaid Plan Changes

Feb 17, 2016

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking to a legislative committee Wednesday at the Capitol.
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Federal officials say they want to work with Gov. Asa Hutchinson on his plan to overhaul Arkansas' hybrid Medicaid expansion but are expressing concerns about some of the restrictions potentially having "adverse impacts" on program participants.

Hutchinson on Wednesday released a letter he received from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell about his proposed changes to the "private option," which uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. Hutchinson wants to add new restrictions, including charging premiums for some on the program and requiring able-bodied unemployed participants to be referred to workforce training.

Burwell stopped short of endorsing any of Hutchinson's specific proposals, but said many were "quite innovative." She said they also pushed the bounds of what's allowed under federal Medicaid law.