Arkansas lawmakers vote to keep Medicaid plan after ruling

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas lawmakers have voted to keep the state's Medicaid expansion another year, days after the program's future appeared in limbo following a court decision blocking the state from enforcing a work requirement.

The majority-Republican House voted 75-18 on Tuesday for the budget for Medicaid and the expansion program, sending the legislation to GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The Senate-backed bill last week fell short of the 75 needed in the 100-member House to win final approval.

Online records indicate among the North Central House delegation Representatives Jack Fortner of Yellville, Michelle Gray of Melbourne and Marsh Davis of Cherokee Village voted in favor of the bill, with Nelda Speaks of Mountain Home opposing and Jack Payton of Wilburn not voting.

The measure passed the Senate last week by a vote of 27-4, with two members not voting and two voting present, including Scott Flippo of Bull Shoals. Senators Missy Irvin of Mountain View and Breanne Davis of Russellville voted in favor.

The vote comes nearly a week after a federal judge blocked Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky. Hutchinson has urged the federal government to appeal the decision and said he wanted lawmakers to maintain the expansion program, which covers 235,000 people.

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