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story.lead_photo.caption Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, while Department of Human Services Director John Selig looks on at a news conference at the state Capitol. - Photo by Gavin Lesnick

Arkansas will lift the suspension on Medicaid verifications and terminations, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday during a news conference at the state Capitol.

In addition, an agreement has been reached to provide pharmacy benefits for 30 days to certain individuals covered by two insurance carriers — Blue Cross Blue Shield and Centene — who have been sent a notice of termination.

Insurance carrier QualChoice was not part of the agreement reached this week.

Hutchinson said that since a pause was instituted, the state Department of Human Services has taken a number of steps to remove a backlog, including having 300 agency employees work 2,200 hours of overtime.

Arkansas' governor suspended Medicaid termination notices for two weeks earlier this month in a move that expired Tuesday.

The suspension was announced to allow the Department of Human Services to address what Hutchinson called "anecdotal" reports that coverage was canceled for some Medicaid recipients who remained eligible.

More than 35,000 people had their coverage terminated, most of who are on the state's compromise Medicaid expansion.

Hutchinson also lifted a hiring freeze on 35 positions within the department to aid in clearing a backlog of records.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Archived Comments

  • nrb
    August 18, 2015 at 5:01 p.m.

    Asa does not care about the people, all he cares about is trying to do away with the insurance. He will bankrupt this state thru his errors.

  • FreeSpiritMan
    August 18, 2015 at 5:54 p.m.

    The people elected this guy, I know for a fact some or on the medicaid program, working for minumum wage, don't have abortions, work 5 days a week 8 hours a day and still voted for this guy and Cotton.

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    August 18, 2015 at 6:25 p.m.

    FSM, I can probably tell you why they voted for Cotton and Asa. They wanted to keep as much of their pay check as possible.

  • cliffcarson
    August 18, 2015 at 6:33 p.m.

    That's the saddest thing about this loss of benefits for 35,000 recipients. They believed the Republican Propaganda and drank the Kool Aid.

    People of Arkansas - Now that you see the Republican for what it is - are you going to make the same mistake twice?

    I took the "Never Again" pledge when I left the Republican Party and I will keep the pledge to never again vote for a Republican for any office.

  • HOTDEMN
    August 18, 2015 at 6:54 p.m.

    DontDrink ETC. makes the mistake that just because someone gets "a paycheck" they make enough money to live on comfortably. Tain't so. A large proportion of these "Government Handouts" go to help the working poor get by. There are tens of thousands of Arkansans who work hard to take care of themselves and their families but just can't earn a decent wage or get benefits in the public workforce. Todays reality is that social welfare programs are sorely needed to maintain a middle class. Sure there is abuse and corruption in the system but rather than jerk the rug out from under deserving citizens maybe we should focus on making the system better.

  • mitchstoner
    August 18, 2015 at 8:47 p.m.

    Is anybody really dumb enough to think minimum wage is a living? It's for kids or beginners or maybe part-time college students, maybe seniors who just want a few hours to supplement their Social Security.

    You're supposed to work your way up from minimum wage. Show you are diligent and apply yourself, learn the skills. If you don't get moved up where you are, ditch that employer for a more appreciative one.

    By the time you are starting a family, you should have some skills and be well above minimum wage. But if all you want to do is lift the basket of french fries out of the grease and bag them, it's unlikely you'll move up much.

    And when you do apply yourself and move up, guess what! You will not need benefits. You will have the pride of knowing you stand as an independent self-sufficient citizen.

    So instead of encouraging whiners to feel like victims and apply for "their" benefits, we should be encouraging people to increase their value to society. I've known some complete idiots who have made out quite well just by effort and keeping out of trouble.

  • PM1118
    August 18, 2015 at 9:24 p.m.

    The backlog was created by Asa's cruel move to get rid of insurance for the poor. It is not the fault of the insured yet he is blaming them for the problem he created. One more inhumane Republican!

  • BEARTRAP919
    August 18, 2015 at 9:41 p.m.

    People down in the Bible Belt are not near as smart as they should be, They will listen to the Preacher and go vote against their best interests time after time. Keep looking for the Light, Surely one day it will shine so bright you will see it and Convert to Intelligent Voting, Republicans are for tax cuts for the Rich and Benefit cuts for the less well off. Tax Cuts and Pay Raises for themselves this year already, and now more benefit cuts for the less well off. Have you seen the Light yet????? Vote for Democrats, Dummy

  • richarcladredad
    August 19, 2015 at 2:42 a.m.

    Earning money the easiest way? Google Traders Superstore to learn more. I’ve been doing really good and earning really well.

  • cliffcarson
    August 19, 2015 at 9:09 a.m.

    Mitchstoner
    According to Government Statistics, Arkansas at $11.88 per hour have the lowest median income in the United States. The same data shows that Arkansas has 44,000 workers at or below the minimum wage. These workers if they work 40 hours per week and 52 weeks per year would earn a maximum of $15,080 per year. About $290 per week.
    These people need housing, food, utilities, transportation, clothing, medicine, hygiene, and insurance - just like you and me. Think they can make it on minimum wage or do they need to eliminate something I listed above?
    Work their way up? You think these people wouldn't take a better paying job if they could get one?
    And what if they suffer an accident say like a broken foot? They wouldn't be able to work and the Mitchstoners of the world would have no sympathy for them. But being self proclaimed Conservative Christians they would go to church on Sunday and pray for their plight. But would they be the good Samaritan and provide help- of course not -them lazy no good for nothing poor people are blamed for their being poor. They don't deserve compassion or help from a good Conservative Christian employer.
    The difference between Republican dogma and caring people is highly illustrated by their actions.
    That is why I left the Republican Party years ago. I am a better person than the Republican dogma. And I never intend to vote Republican again.

    You should be smart enough to leave the Republican Party. Although the Republican Party claims to be the Godly organization in Government they are the most un-Godly in their actions toward their fellow man.

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