Senate Votes To Continue 'Private Option,' Form Task Force

Jan 29, 2015

Sen. John Cooper, who ran against the private option last year, was among Republicans going along with the governor's request to continue the program through the end of 2016.
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The Arkansas Senate has voted to continue the state's compromise Medicaid expansion for another year and create a task force to look at alternatives for the hundreds of thousands of low-income Arkansas residents receiving coverage through the program.

The Senate voted 29-2 Thursday to reauthorize the state's "private option," which uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. The Senate also approved by a 27-7 vote the creation of a task force to look at alternatives and reforms to the state's Medicaid system.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson last week called on lawmakers to create the task force and to continue the program through the end of next year.

Both measures now head to the House.