Opponents Of Healthcare Plan Block Funding In Legislature

Apr 14, 2016

Arkansas Senate President Pro Tempore Jonathan Dismang speaking on the chamber floor Thursday.
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Republican opponents of Arkansas' hybrid Medicaid expansion have blocked funding for the expanded coverage and a host of other programs for the poor and disabled.

The Senate on Thursday voted 25-10 in favor of the Medicaid budget bill funding the hybrid expansion, two votes shy of the 27 needed for passage. It was unclear when supporters would try another vote on the bill, and the Senate sent the measure back to the Joint Budget Committee.

The vote comes less than a week after lawmakers approved Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson's plan to keep and rework the hybrid expansion, which uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for the poor. More than 250,000 people are on the program, which was created three years ago as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law.