posted: 03/30/2013 5 a.m.
A crude-oil pipeline ruptured near Lake Conway on Friday, prompting emergency workers to evacuate a residential neighborhood and rush to prevent the oil from entering the man-made lake that’s popular with central Arkansas fishermen.
posted: 03/29/2013 12:48 a.m.
Gov. Mike Beebe earlier this month questioned whether the state’s Medicaid program needed a requested $90 million, according to an e-mail from a state finance administrator to Beebe staff members and to officials in the state Department of Human Services.
posted: 03/24/2013 3:51 a.m.
Come summer, at least 535 trained guides will start fanning out across Arkansas, knocking on doors, setting up folding chairs in community centers and handing out brochures to spread the word across Arkansas about the state’s health-insurance exchange, which will open in January.
posted: 03/19/2013 12:48 a.m.
Expanding Medicaid through private insurance won’t be a budget buster for Arkansas or the federal government.
posted: 03/17/2013 3:46 a.m.
Some lawmakers and advocates remain concerned that rural, poor Arkansans will be left without coverage when the state’s health-insurance exchange begins operating in January, but an executive of Arkansas’ largest insurance company and exchange planners say such a scenario almost definitely won’t happen.
posted: 03/16/2013 5:13 a.m.
Arkansas businesses could be saddled with up to $38 million in fines if state lawmakers don’t expand Medicaid, according to a national tax service’s report.
posted: 03/14/2013 3:59 a.m.
Federal spending cuts triggered by sequestration threaten Arkansas’ budding health-insurance exchange after all, according to an e-mail to state exchange planners.
posted: 03/14/2013 3:51 a.m.
A letter sent to the federal government Wednesday by the Arkansas Department of Human Services outlines in concrete and exhaustive detail the oral agreement reached last month by Gov. Mike Beebe and U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius in an attempt to nail down the unprecedented deal they reached regarding Medicaid expansion.
posted: 03/08/2013 5:21 a.m.
Politicians such as Democratic state Rep. Reginald Murdock and Republican state Sen. Jonathan Dismang represent Arkansas’ chance to avoid Washington politics, Gov. Mike Beebe told a crowd of hundreds on the Capitol steps Thursday at a rally in support of expanding Medicaid.
posted: 03/08/2013 12:27 a.m.
Arkansas’ deal to expand Medicaid is legal, Gov. Mike Beebe said Thursday, and emails among state officials indicate that top federal officials agree.
posted: 03/07/2013 12:33 a.m.
E-mails between Arkansas policymakers and leading Republicans show an effort to develop pro-expansion “talking points” to help sell an unprecedented Medicaid expansion deal to legislators.
posted: 03/06/2013 4:03 a.m.
Lawmakers jousted Tuesday over a GOP choice for an outside consultant to evaluate Arkansas’ Medicaid program before a legislative panel approved the $220,000 contract. The Alexander Group LLC is headed by Gary D. Alexander, a former health and welfare official in the Republican administration of former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, as well as the designer of a Medicaid overhaul for Rhode Island. Alexander was the best choice available, said Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs.
posted: 03/06/2013 12:40 a.m.
More dollars generated by fees levied on a huge new pool of customers on the state’s health-insurance exchange could help pay for Arkansas’ share of Medicaid expansion, say some Republicans, but state health-policy officials said Tuesday that they hadn’t signed off on such a plan.
posted: 03/05/2013 12:49 a.m.
A leading Republican who has been unhappy with the state partnering with the federal government on its health insurance exchange said Monday that he is likely resigned to keeping that model for now.
posted: 03/01/2013 12:01 a.m.
Lawmakers who want to see a price tag on the new private model for Medicaid expansion likely won’t see any dollar figures before a vote, Gov. Mike Beebe said Thursday, adding that a much-discussed “sunset” clause in any legislation would create a three-year window for “actual data, not speculation.”
posted: 02/28/2013 12:54 a.m.
A day after Arkansas made national headlines for wrangling a unique option for Medicaid expansion from the federal government, lawmakers, advocates and providers at the state Capitol on Wednesday tried to absorb the details of providing health coverage to 250,000 poor Arkansans through the state’s insurance exchange.
posted: 02/27/2013 12:19 a.m.
Expanding Medicaid to all 250,000 eligible Arkansans can be done by funneling them through the state’s insurance exchange under a plan unveiled Tuesday by Gov. Mike Beebe.
posted: 02/26/2013 12:41 a.m.
A powerful national lobbying group for older Americans cited Arkansas on Monday as one of two states where it is “ramping up” a national campaign to expand Medicaid.
posted: 02/23/2013 5:01 a.m.
Gov. Mike Beebe emerged from a “productive” meeting with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday, saying he felt good about Arkansas’ options for expanding its $5 billion Medicaid program by 250,000 people.
posted: 02/22/2013 2:31 a.m.
Arkansas’ effort to overhaul the way it pays Medicaid providers received a boost Thursday as the federal government rewarded the state’s first-in-the-nation efforts with a $42 million grant.
posted: 02/20/2013 3:58 a.m.
A state senator who has favored ceding control of the state’s insurance exchange to the federal government said Tuesday that his committee will hold hearings next week to determine whether Arkansas should continue planning for a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
posted: 02/19/2013 12:08 a.m.
Republicans’ continued skepticism about the benefits of Medicaid expansion and the existing $5 billion program has prompted one effort, possibly two, to engage outside eyes to examine the program’s books, as well as Department of Human Services estimates.
posted: 02/17/2013 4:14 a.m.
Top officials from the Arkansas Department of Human Services and their state counterparts who handle federal disability claims agree that national policy needs to change if the rapid growth of Arkansas’ disabled on the Medicaid rolls is to be slowed.
posted: 02/14/2013 4:14 a.m.
Republican lawmakers voiced concern Wednesday that the state’s doctors will be squeezed financially by the far-reaching Medicaid cost-containment strategy being advanced by the Arkansas Department of Human Services.
posted: 02/12/2013 12:50 a.m.
Some large businesses in Arkansas that pay low wages are publicly supporting Medicaid expansion, citing worries that federal penalties or the high cost of providing affordable coverage will put them in the red or shut them down completely if the state doesn’t enlarge Medicaid rolls by 250,000 people.
posted: 02/09/2013 4:58 a.m.
Legislative auditors released a GOP-requested report on the state’s Medicaid program Friday that turned up a provider convicted of a sex crime who mainly served children, improper payments and what Republicans say is proof that the agency’s fraud detection needs to be strengthened.
posted: 02/09/2013 4:37 a.m.
Insurance companies, not the state, would decide how to deal with smokers in the new insurance marketplace mandated by the federal health-care law under a recommendation discussed Friday.
posted: 02/08/2013 12:07 a.m.
Republican lawmakers are talking about delaying a decision on Medicaid expansion until next year as they absorb an avalanche of new information regarding options to full expansion, and a reduction in the expected funding shortfall in the state program.
posted: 02/07/2013 4:12 a.m.
Legislation prohibiting coverage for abortions on the state’s health insurance exchange advanced Wednesday in a Senate panel.
posted: 02/07/2013 12:19 a.m.
The rapidly shrinking state Medicaid deficit can’t be explained by anything other than an “announcement effect” of the state’s far-reaching payment overhaul, which prompted healthcare providers to rein in costs and resulted in reducing the $5 billion program’s growth rate to a 25-year low, the state Medicaid director told lawmakers Wednesday.
posted: 02/06/2013 4:25 a.m.
Insurance Department officials say an unusually structured budget bill makes it easier for insurance-exchange opponents to kill the state’s partnership model.
posted: 02/06/2013 12:38 a.m.
The federal government has agreed to consider a request by Gov. Mike Beebe to allow Arkansans whose income is just above the poverty level to choose private insurance on the state’s exchange instead of Medicaid if the state fully expands the $5 billion program by 250,000.
posted: 02/03/2013 4:36 a.m.
Physically and mentally disabled Arkansans receiving federal disability benefits drove the state’s ballooning Medicaid costs over the past five years.
posted: 02/02/2013 5:04 a.m.
Legislative auditors on Friday delayed until next week the release of a special report on Medicaid that Republican lawmakers had wanted released sooner, drawing praise from Gov. Mike Beebe and criticism from Sen. Bryan King, chairman of the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee.
posted: 02/01/2013 5:06 a.m.
The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock endorsed Medicaid expansion Thursday, saying Catholic doctrine’s “pro-life ” tradition compels him to “support and encourage ” adding up to 250,000 Arkansans to the rolls of the $5 billion program.
posted: 02/01/2013 12:17 a.m.
Arkansas’ Medicaid projected deficit has been cut by more than half to $61 million, largely because of the effects of the state’s payment overhaul, state Department of Human Services officials said Thursday.
posted: 01/31/2013 3:32 a.m.
A legislative panel’s decision to speed the release of a special audit report on the state’s Medicaid program drew criticism Wednesday from Democrats, who suggested political motivations had skewed its findings, and state Medicaid officials, who called flaws in the report “alarming.” Sen. Bryan King, a Green Forest Republican and head of the Legislative Auditing Committee, said he wanted to hurry the report’s debut for Friday, although it was originally scheduled for a March release.
posted: 01/30/2013 12:55 a.m.
A House panel narrowly defeated legislation Tuesday that aims to prohibit insurance policies on the state’s insurance exchange from offering abortion coverage.
posted: 01/25/2013 12:58 a.m.
An unintended wrinkle in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act gives about 87,000 foreigners residing legally in Arkansas the right to federal dollars to buy health coverage on the state’s insurance exchange.
posted: 01/25/2013 12:49 a.m.
After a month of “grueling” debate, insurance-exchange planners arrived Thursday at a tentative solution for the shape, the size and the scope of habilitative care in Arkansas.
posted: 01/24/2013 12:21 a.m.
Some Republican legislators aim to reframe the Medicaid-expansion debate by encouraging poor Arkansans to buy health coverage on the state’s insurance exchange, perhaps with the state picking up their modest premiums.
posted: 01/23/2013 12:42 a.m.
Although Medicaid expansion and a payment overhaul will be “disruptive” to the way medical care works in Arkansas, the changes will benefit the state’s poor, its hospitals and its rural areas, the state surgeon general and the chief of the state’s medical school told lawmakers Tuesday.
posted: 01/20/2013 3:35 a.m.
Covering up to 250,000 poor Arkansans by expanding Medicaid with federal help will make Arkansas more business friendly, especially for small companies, says Gov. Mike Beebe.
posted: 01/20/2013 3:12 a.m.
Three times wasn’t the charm for state health insurance exchange planners and developmental disability advocates Friday.
posted: 01/18/2013 12:47 a.m.
An answer from the federal government on whether Arkansas can “partially” expand Medicaid is unlikely before the end of February, and details of how it would work remain murky to many legislators and policymakers.
posted: 01/17/2013 3:56 a.m.
Expanding Medicaid coverage to 250,000 poor Arkansans could improve services for unstable mentally ill people in Arkansas — a group responsible for some of the violent outbursts that have plagued the country in recent years, state Department of Human Services Director John Selig told lawmakers Wednesday.
posted: 01/16/2013 3:36 a.m.
The new chairman of the Senate Insurance and Commerce Committee said Tuesday that he favors ending the state’s partnership with the federal government for its health insurance exchange.
posted: 01/15/2013 12:13 a.m.
New proposed Medicaid rules would allow states to charge co-payments for Medicaid recipients in nonemergency uses of emergency rooms and prescription drugs, the federal government announced Monday.
posted: 01/12/2013 3:50 a.m.
Insurance-exchange planners wrestled again Friday with provisions in the Affordable Care Act requiring “habilitative” care to be offered on the state’s exchange, and delayed a recommendation on the matter for a week to determine how many people are likely to seek coverage and the cost of providing their care.
posted: 01/11/2013 12:29 a.m.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced Thursday that it will flex its corporate muscle with a $670,000 grant to help the state and private insurers harness rising health-care costs.