Arkansas Lawmakers Could Retreat From Innovative Medicaid Expansion Plan

The legislature may reverse course just at Republicans in other states are weighing whether to follow the Arkansas proposal to use federal funds to buy private insurance for some of the state's low income residents.

The New York Times: In Arkansas, 'Private Option' Medicaid Plan Could Be Derailed
Last year, the Republicans who control this state's Legislature devised a politically palatable way to expand Medicaid under President Obama's health care law. They won permission to use federal expansion funds to buy private insurance for as many as 250,000 poor people instead of adding them to traditional Medicaid, which conservatives disparage as a broken entitlement program. But just as the idea is catching fire in other states with Republican or divided leadership — Iowa has adopted a version of the plan, and New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Utah and other states are exploring similar avenues — Arkansas may abruptly reverse course, potentially leaving the 83,000 people who have signed up so far without insurance as soon as July 1 (Goodnough, 2/10).

Earlier, related KHN coverage: Arkansas' Medicaid Experiment, Key To Obamacare Expansion, On Ropes (Galewitz, 2/10).

Health News Florida: On Medicaid, FMA Punts Again
The Florida Medical Association's Board of Governors turned aside a resolution in support of Medicaid Expansion last weekend, sending it to a committee. While FMA did not say that effectively kills it for this legislative session, its supporters did (Gentry, 2/10).

The Richmond Times-Dispatch: Medicaid Audit Backed
A resolution to launch a two-year audit of Virginia's Medicaid program sailed through the House on a 70-29 vote on Monday. House Joint Resolution 40 would direct the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to contract with an outside consultant to perform the audit, which is likely to be included in the proposed budget the House Appropriations Committee will unveil Sunday (2/11).

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