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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe signed into law a measure that continues funding for the state's private-option Medicaid plan until June 2015. - Photo by AP / DANNY JOHNSTON

Gov. Mike Beebe on Friday morning signed a law that ensures the continuation of funding for the state's private-option Medicaid expansion through June 2015.

The state House of Representatives approved Senate Bill 111, which is now Act 257, on Tuesday after rejecting the measure in four consecutive vote in February. That chamber passed 76-24 the bill to authorize the use of $915 million in federal Medicaid dollars to buy private health insurance for more than 100,000 poor Arkansans in a plan approved last year.

The Senate passed the same measure by a 27-8 vote Feb. 20.

The expanded Medicaid program extends private-option eligibility to adults with incomes of up to 138 percent of the poverty level — for example, $16,105 for an individual and $32,913 for a family of four.

Beebe said previously that he would sign the measure.

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  • NicholsCreek
    March 7, 2014 at 12:59 p.m.

    Great short term fix. However, federal dollars are still tax payers money. When the federal dollars run out, I wonder what kind of taxes my children and grandchildren will be burdened with to pay for this.

  • 3rdWorldState
    March 7, 2014 at 1:11 p.m.

    I suspect, if it goes like the GOP has stated, we, the old, will be on the streets and our children will be in bread lines.
    But at least we will have really low taxes.

  • Molly44
    March 7, 2014 at 1:26 p.m.

    The cost of the private option is just spit in the big pool of debt. It would cost Arkansas taxpayers and their offspring a lot more if we snubbed it.

    The CBO continues to project Obamacare to reduce the deficit.

    Insurance premiums for those getting subsidized insurance and buying full premium insurance on the exchange will be lower because risk is spread out over a larger pool of insured.

    Children's parents will now be able to get medical treatment when needed. Families less likely to go into bankruptcy due to health problems.

  • Hogdude
    March 7, 2014 at 3:29 p.m.

    Quaere: Before Obamacare, many poor got medical care at an emergency room/surgery, insurance companies paid for insureds and the unpaid bills were spread across to those who could pay. No taxes. Now, poor will get better care as insureds, insurance companies will pay for more insureds and our taxes will go up. Seems the only difference is the govt. is forcing us to pay for the care now. Am I wrong?

  • RBBrittain
    March 7, 2014 at 3:50 p.m.

    @Hogdude: Who do you think paid the insurance companies' bills??? WE did, thru (a) higher premiums on our own policies (padded with insurers' profit, of course) and (b) higher taxes because Medicare was one of those "insurance companies". And if someone DOESN'T pay? The hospital closes, like so many rural hospitals in Arkansas & other states. Like it or not, SOMEONE has to pay for healthcare in this country...

  • FreeSpiritMan
    March 7, 2014 at 7:58 p.m.

    In a new ranking of countries with the most efficient health care, Israel came in fourth, while the US ranked — behind Iran — in 46th position.

    The data was compiled by Bloomberg, and countries were ranked based on three criteria: life expectancy; relative per capita cost of health care (percentage of GDP per capita); and the absolute per capita cost of health care (expenditures covering preventive and curative services, family planning, nutrition and emergency aid).

    The countries included had populations of at least five million, life expectancy of at least 70 years and GDP per capita of at least $5,000.

    Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan took the top three spots in the rankings. Israel came next.

    The UK came in 14th, Canada 17th, Iran 45th, and the US 46th.

    Israel’s life expectancy is 81.8 years, and health care costs per capita were calculated at $2,426 (or approximately NIS 8,800).

    The rankings also noted that Israel has the longest life span in the Middle East and Africa, and that Israelis have the 12th longest retirement in the world (lasting 17.81 years).

    By comparison, Americans have a life expectancy of 78.6 years and spend $8,608 (NIS 31,100) in health care costs per capita.
    Now, I was watching the 700 Club with Pat Robertson, when it started, as usual brother Pat bashed Obama Care, then had a special segment on healthcare advances in Israel, showing many new advancements in medical devices manufactured in Israel. He boasted about their longer lifespan and being ranked 4th in the world. BUT and this is a big BUT, he never mentioned that they consider their healthcare a right, is compulsory and universal Now all the right wing nuts are telling us that Obama Care will stifle the manufacture of new medical device in the US. Is Israel smarter than the US? It appears they are smarter than a certain segment of our electorate in the US.

  • aimee
    March 8, 2014 at 2:33 a.m.

    Republicans thought better of reneging on an idea of their OWN making when they thought it was what the Democrats wanted..!!! What sleazebags..!!! Universal healthcare is the only fair way to go and hopefully we will get there soon..!!!