Arkansas Legislature

Healthcare in Arkansas
3:51 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Beebe Defends Private Option Before Nation

Credit c-span.org

Governor Mike Beebe is expressing optimism that Arkansas’s plan to provide low-income residents with private health insurance using federal Medicaid dollars will be reapproved by the state legislature. Beebe is in our nation’s Capitol for a National Governor’s Association Conference. There, Arkansas’s private option alternative to Medicaid Expansion is receiving attention as state lawmakers here attempt to overcome a small minority who oppose the program.

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Arkansas General Assembly
12:55 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Deadlock On Private Option Carrries On In Arkansas Legislature

For the fourth time in as many days, the Arkansas House of Representatives failed to pass a measure that would fund the private option, the state’s unique plan to provide hundreds of thousands of poor people with private health insurance.  The funding bill failed on a 71 to 18 vote, with many members voting in absentia (Friday is normally a day off for legislators.

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Arkansas General Assembly
8:38 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Private Option Passes In Senate, Just Misses In House

The Arkansas State Senate Chamber
Credit Chris Hickey / KUAR

In what was expected to be a close but almost certain vote, the Arkansas State Senate passed the appropriation bill for the private option, the healthcare plan that extends coverage to poor residents. Later in the afternoon Thursday, the House of Representatives again fell short of passing the bill.

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Local & Regional News
11:29 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Arkansas Senate OKs Bill Avoiding Special Election For Lt. Governor

The Arkansas Senate has unanimously approved a bill that would avoid a special election this year for the lieutenant governor's position left open by the resignation of Mark Darr.

The Senate voted 35-0 on Thursday in favor of the bill, which would enable Gov. Mike Beebe to not call a special election for the office within 10 months of the November election.

Darr resigned Feb. 1, and lawmakers hope to avoid a special election before the November general election that will fill the post. Lawmakers say holding a special election would cost $1 million.

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Fiscal Legislative Session
7:29 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Private Option Again Fails To Pass, More Votes To Come

Foes of the private option present proposals to completely stop any further enrollment in the program. Governor Mike Beebe and House Speaker Davy Carter say the plan is politically unrealistic.
Credit Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Arkansas Legislative leaders say they are finished negotiating new terms relating to the state’s private option alternative to Medicaid expansion, after the bill to appropriate funds for the program failed to get the needed votes to pass.

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Arkansas General Assembly
8:56 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

More Votes On Private Option Expected

House Speaker Davy Carter (R, Cabot) speaks to reporters after the Department of Human Services Division of Medical Services appropriation bill failed to get 75 votes for passage.
Credit Chris Hickey / KUAR News

 The Arkansas House of Representatives failed to reach a threshold of 75 votes to fund the state’s private option Tuesday. But as KUAR’s Chris Hickey reports, legislative leaders plan to continue to bring the bill up for a vote until the needed votes are secured.

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Local & Regional News
2:53 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Arkansas House Votes Against Compromise Medicaid Plan

Members of the Arkansas House at the start of Tuesday's session, before the vote over the private option.
Credit Chris Hickey / KUAR

While it’s expected to get another vote Wednesday, the Arkansas House of Representatives voted against a bill Tuesday that would reauthorize funding for the so-called private option.

State Representative John Burris, a Republican from Harrison, spoke in favor of it, telling his colleagues it would be best to continue the program that uses federal Medicaid money to buy private insurance for low income residents.

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Local & Regional News
10:30 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Senator Changes Position On Private Option, Could Be Enough For Passage

A slice of drama was cut from the state capitol on Tuesday as a state senator previously opposed to the private option said she would now vote to fund it.

State Sen. Jane English (R-North Little Rock) got something in return, however. English, a long-time advocate for restructuring workforce education and training in Arkansas, said she has received support from fellow lawmakers and Gov. Mike Beebe to fundamentally alter programs tied to workforce investment.

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Local & Regional News
6:06 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Assessing Arkansas Lawmakers At Week Two Of Fiscal Session

The Arkansas House of Representatives are to vote on 'Private Option' reauthorization Tuesday. 75 votes are required for passage.
Credit Chris Hickey / KUAR News

The Arkansas Legislature meets again on Tuesday after the President's Day/Daisy Gatson Bates Holiday.

The state's "private option" plan of expanding Medicaid under the federal health care law is still the top issue. KUAR's Nathan Vandiver and Chris Hickey have a conversation about the political climate at the state Capitol as legislators prepare for a critical vote.

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Arkansas General Assembly
4:14 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Private Option Amendments Advance In Legislature

The Joint Budget Committee on Thursday
Credit Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Changes to the Private Option are making their way through the Arkansas legislature.  On Thursday, the Joint Budget Committee approved new language in the program’s fiscal bill.  It involves the state seeking federal approval for establishing Health Savings Accounts, increasing the number of adults who must share health costs and tweaking how much non-emergency transportation will be provided to people enrolled in the private option. At the meeting, State Representative John Burris said there would be a hard deadline for attaining approval.

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