Local & Regional News
8:36 am
Sat March 23, 2013

Legislature Gets Beebe Draft Of Medicaid Bill

Governor Beebe met House Speaker Davy Carter’s deadline of Friday to submit a draft of legislation to   expand Medicaid to about 250-thousand more residents.

Both the Speaker and the Governor’s office call the rough draft just a "framework" for the bill they hope to eventually hammer out.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports it calls for establishing an Access Assurance Program—a system for diverting to private insurance companies the new Medicaid money that will flow to the state next year as part of the Affordable Care Act.          

At Governor Beebe’ suggestion last month, federal Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sabelius agreed Medicaid money could pay private insurance carriers to cover those added to the program, an idea that is key to gaining the support of the Republican majority in the Arkansas legislature.

The draft also details the opt-out provision that Secretary Sabelius promised, stating that expanded Medicaid would end within 120 days if it turns out the state has to pay more than 10 percent of the cost.

It contains a strong accountability component as well, requiring D-H-S to track Medicaid’s efficiency, costs and overall economic impact after expansion.