August 21, 2014
3:18 am
RAIN:  7AM to 7AM:  .00"    Month:  .56”    Year:  27.76”   |  TEMPS:  High: 95  Low: 72

State senate passes private option funding bill

     On a 27 to 8 vote Thursday morning, the Arkansas State Senate passed a bill to provide funding to continue Arkansas's Medicaid expansion.   Thursday afternoon the State House of Representatives voted down an identical funding bill.   For the third time in as may days, the bill failed to reach the required 75 votes, or a three-fourths majority, for passage.   Today's vote was 72 to 25.   House Speaker Davy Carter of Cabot says the house will take up both bills Friday morning at 10 when they reconvene.
     State Senator Johnny Key of Mountain Home said, consistent with his vote in the previous legislative session, he voted in favor of the bill.   Key said while he believes the Affordable Care Act leaves Arkansas and other states bad options, this bill is in the best interest of the state.
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     When the senate bill reaches the House of Representatives for consideration Friday, State Representative Kelly Linck of Flippin believes it has a good chance of passage.
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     The private option plan allows the state to buy private insurance for Arkansans with incomes of up to 138 percent of the poverty level using federal Medicaid money.   The program initially is covered entirely by federal funds, but by 2020, the state would have to pay 10 percent of the cost.   Senator Key presented an amendment to the department of insurance appropriation bill to provide funding to pay those future costs.
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     Key says he expects action to be completed on the bill by the end of next week.

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