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State lawmakers taking up 'private option' bill

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 18, 2014 at 7:19 a.m.

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas lawmakers are returning to the state Capitol to consider whether to continue the state's compromise Medicaid expansion.

The House is expected to vote Tuesday on a bill that would fund the "private option" that was approved last year as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health-care law. Under the private option, Arkansas is using federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for thousands of low-income residents.

The proposal is at risk of being defunded after losing key votes in the state Senate. The funding bill includes amendments aimed at swaying opponents of the private option, such as a prohibition on the state promoting the health care expansion.

The private option needs three-fourths support in both the House and Senate to continue.


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