Arkansas Healthcare

Arkansas's General Assembly has given initial approval to healthcare changes not possible under President Obama. 

The modifications would move about 60,000 out of the subsidized Medicaid expansion that took place after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and under the guidance of Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe. These recipients would become customers in the regular exchange. The changes also include new Medicaid work requirements.  

A final vote is expected Wednesday morning.

The Arkansas House of Representatives chamber.
arkansashouse.org

Arkansas lawmakers have given initial approval to moving 60,000 people off the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion program and to impose a work requirement on its participants.

The House on Tuesday voted 71-23 for the new restrictions by a 71-23, while the Senate approved an identical measure by a 23-9 vote.

Final votes on the bills are expected in both chambers on Wednesday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson earlier this year proposed the restrictions, which must also be approved by the federal government.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
arkansashouse.org

An Arkansas House committee has advanced Gov. Asa Hutchinson's proposal to make changes to the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion program.

Hutchinson called for a special legislative session for lawmakers to address Medicaid and other issues, including shoring up the state's long-term reserve fund.

More than 300,000 people are covered by Arkansas Works, the program that uses Medicaid money to buy private insurance for low-income residents. Hutchinson wants to move 60,000 people off the program, and put in place a work requirement for eligibility.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

State lawmakers are returning to Little Rock to adjourn their regular legislative session and begin a special session that's mainly focused on changes to the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson plans to address lawmakers at 2 p.m. Monday, shortly after they begin the special session that is expected to wrap up this week.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

On a second try, the Arkansas House of Representatives successfully passed the appropriation for the state Department of Human Services Division of Medical Services. The Division oversees the state’s expanded Medicaid program, which includes the health coverage of more than 300,000 low-income adults.

Echo Soza lives at Our House, a homeless shelter for the working poor in Little Rock. The 47-year-old housekeeper was uninsured a few years ago when she had a stroke.    

“I actually was hospitalized and then lost my housing and then came here,” she says.  

Arkansas House of Representatives.
ArkansasHouse.org

An effort to keep Arkansas' hybrid Medicaid expansion for another year fell short in the state House days after an attempt by congressional Republicans to repeal the federal health law that created the program failed.

The House voted 73-17 Wednesday for the budget for the state Medicaid program, including the expansion, falling two votes short of the 75 needed to send the measure to the governor. House leaders did not indicate when they would try another vote on the bill.

Arkansas State Capitol
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

The Arkansas Senate has approved keeping the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion another year after Republican efforts to repeal and replace the federal health law that created the program failed in Congress.

The state Senate voted 27-1 Tuesday for the budget for the state's Medicaid program that includes the hybrid expansion. The bill that now heads to the state House had failed to get the three-fourths majority vote needed on two separate votes Monday.

The floor of the Arkansas Senate.
Arkansas.gov

An effort to continue the hybrid Arkansas Medicaid expansion another year has failed in the state Senate, days after Republican efforts to repeal and replace the federal health law that enabled the expanded coverage faltered in Congress.

The Senate voted 19-1 and later 20-1 in favor of the budget for the state's Medicaid program, including the hybrid expansion, short of the 27 votes needed to advance. More than 300,000 people are on the program, which uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents.

Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he believes Congress will ultimately agree on a replacement for the federal health overhaul despite House Republicans failing to dismantle the law.

The Republican governor said Friday he has no doubt Congress will revisit the issue, but said he'll move forward with a plan for new limits on the hybrid Medicaid expansion Arkansas enacted under the law.

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