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Beebe defends private-option savings figure

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published January 28, 2014 at 7:09 a.m. Updated January 28, 2014 at 12:36 p.m.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe says his proposal to boost funding for the state's prison system will be threatened if lawmakers halt a compromise Medicaid expansion approved last year.

Beebe told members of the Arkansas Sheriffs' Association on Tuesday that the new money he's proposed to build new prison beds and reimburse county jails for housing state inmates could be at risk if the private option isn't renewed during next month's legislative session. Beebe has said $89 million from his proposed budget relies on savings the state expects to see from the private option cutting down on uncompensated care costs.

Beebe also defended the state's estimate on the impact ending the private option would have on the state's budget.

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