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House to vote on Medicaid 'private option'

By The Associated Press

This article was published April 11, 2013 at 7:35 a.m.

Members of the Arkansas House are set to vote on a Senate-backed proposal that would tap federal Medicaid money to buy private health care insurance for low-income residents.

Legislative leaders say they aren't sure whether they will have the three-fourths supermajority needed for final approval when the vote happens Thursday.

Democrats largely support the plan, but the Republican House Speaker and GOP caucus leader are split on the proposal. Republicans control 51 seats in the 100-member chamber. Seventy-five votes are needed for passage.

The bill is an alternative to expanding the state's Medicaid enrollment as called for under the federal health-care law. The legislation would authorize Arkansas to accept the federal money intended to expand Medicaid but instead use it to purchase private insurance for low-income residents.

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