LITTLE ROCK Gov. Mike Beebe says the state will be able to avoid the “most painful” cuts to the state’s Medicaid program, including a proposal to remove thousands from nursing home care.
Beebe told the House and Senate on Tuesday that the state’s Medicaid shortfall appeared to be “more manageable” and suggested it would be lower than the $138 million projected by the state Department of Human Services.
Beebe said a $35 million proposed cut to the lowest level of nursing home care is the “last thing we’ll ever do.”
The governor said he had asked advisers to look at where cuts could be made and that “there were no simple answers.”
Beebe spoke to a joint session of the General Assembly in his “State of the State” address at the Capitol.
Beebe also said he will need the Legislature’s help to attract “one of the biggest” economic development projects the state has ever seen.
Beebe told lawmakers as they met in a joint session Tuesday that economic development and education remain his top priorities in his final regular session as governor.
The Democratic governor said he didn’t believe the session would be that different from past ones, despite an election that handed Republicans control of the Legislature for the first time in 138 years.
Beebe did not say what project he hoped to attract to the state.
Legislators opened their 2013 regular session Monday. A Medicaid funding shortfall has also emerged as a major issue.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazettee for full details.