Rep. John Burris (R-Harrison) said to the House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee Tuesday that the best option for Arkansans once the Affordable Care Act is fully in effect will be to have the "private option" of Medicaid insurance expansion in place.
The state House will get to vote on legislation that would allow the state to provide health insurance to roughly 250,000 low income Arkansans after the House public health committee advanced it Tuesday.
There was audible opposition to the voice vote, but the bill will make it to the full House, where it will need 51 votes for approval. However, it will also need a budget appropriation for full implementation and that takes a tougher 75 votes.
Republican Representative John Burris of Harrison told his colleagues in the Arkansas House on Monday that the state could be an example to other states of how to overhaul Medicaid if it approves a new private option of health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The House met Monday specifically to discuss a bill that would allow the state to expand health coverage through private insurance for roughly 250,000 Arkansans who make up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level with federal money.
Arkansas has received written approval from the Department of Health and Human Services to forge a new plan to expand health insurance in the state.
Governor Mike Beebe released a letter from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Tuesday that said the state should move forward on its loose plan to expand private health insurance coverage with federal money available through the Affordable Care Act.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has renamed its eight Area Health Education Centers across the state. The centers known as AHECs provide health education programs and some also have primary care clinics.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- A case of E. coli has been reported in Arkansas. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported 15 cases of E. coli, including one in the Natural State. An investigation led officials to believe the source of the outbreak is from "Farm Rich" brand frozen food products, including chicken quesadillas, mozzarella bites, mini pizza slices, and several other frozen, partially cooked snacks.
The Arkansas Department of Human Services says the state would save $670 million over 10 years under a plan to use Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for newly eligible recipients.
The agency released the numbers on Wednesday. DHS spokeswoman Amy Webb says the savings compare to not expanding Medicaid.
House Speaker Davy Carter said Wednesday he was still reviewing the report but called the cost estimates for the private option "favorable" and said they appeared to show that it would be a good financial decision for the state.
Some Arkansans are demanding accountability from state lawmakers, and this past weekend they turned out in hundreds to protest recently passed legislation. Protesters gathered at the capitol to express disapproval of newly-passed reproductive laws in Arkansas.
Signs saying things like “may the choice be with you” and “mind your business” floated high above the crowd. Arkansans attended the rally at the capitol this Saturday, they say, in support of women’s rights and, as many protesters noted, human rights in general.