LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ Governor Mike Beebe says he remains cautiously
optimistic that Arkansas will keep its compromise Medicaid expansion alive next year despite the defeat of Republican Representative John Burris of Harrison who helped design the program. Scott Flippo of Mountain Home defeated Burris in a bid for the State Senate District 17 seat, which represents Baxter, Marion and Boone counties. Flippo ran on a promise to fight for the repeal of the 'private option' plan that Burris helped craft.
Beebe told the Delta Grassroots Caucus on Thursday that reauthorizing the
program will always be a tough fight given the three-fourths votes needed in the Arkansas House and Senate to keep it alive.
The governor said he believed that arguments for the plan and the consequences of not keeping it would help sway legislators next year.
Beebe spoke two days after Burris lost the race for state Senate in the Republican primary runoff election. The contest focused on Burris's support for the ``private option' Medicaid plan, which directs the state to use Medicaid money to buy insurance for poorer Arkansans.
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