Arkansas' Medicaid Expansion Plan To Cover 200,000 Through Private Coverage Approved

The federal government on Friday approved Arkansas' plan to take federal Medicaid expansion dollars to buy commercial health coverage for more than 200,000 people. Six other states may go similar routes.

The New York Times: One State's Way To Bolster Health Coverage For Poor 
Federal officials said Friday that they had approved a novel proposal from Arkansas to expand Medicaid by buying private coverage for poor people through the insurance marketplace being set up under the new federal health care law. The Arkansas program, expected to cover more than 200,000 people, sets a precedent of national significance. It offers a hybrid coverage plan calculated to appeal to Republicans, taking federal money for the expansion of Medicaid and using it to purchase commercial insurance (Pear, 9/27).

Reuters: U.S. Clears Arkansas Medicaid Expansion Proposal 
The U.S. government approved Arkansas' proposal to use federal money targeted for expanding the Medicaid health program for the poor to help low-income residents buy private insurance under President Barack Obama's health care law. The request was approved by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency said on Friday. It will allow more than 200,000 uninsured state residents to receive government help to access health coverage (Krauskopf, 9/27). 

The Wall Street Journal: Arkansas To Use Medicaid Funds To Expand Private Coverage 
The Obama administration gave Arkansas the green light to use Medicaid funds in the federal health law to expand coverage through private insurance, a decision that could pave the way for at least six more states to opt in to a key provision of the law. Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, said he received a telephone call from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday morning telling him she was approving the state's request to sign up about 218,000 Arkansans for private coverage (Radnofsky, 9/27).

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