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Lawmakers to discuss 'private option' future

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 21, 2014 at 7:35 a.m.

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas lawmakers will be discussing how they reauthorized the state's "private option" during this year's session and the future of the compromise Medicaid expansion.

A panel of lawmakers is scheduled to speak to the Political Animals Club on Friday about the contentious fight over continuing the private option plan to use federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for the poor in the state. The Legislature earlier this month reauthorized the program for another year, despite a defunding attempt by opponents of the plan.

The program was approved as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health care law. Arkansas was the first state to win approval for such a model, which several other states are now exploring.

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