LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Gov. Mike Beebe has signed into law legislation that will allow Arkansas to use federal Medicaid dollars to purchase private health insurance for thousands of low-income residents.
Beebe signed the bills Tuesday. The measures set up the "private option" program that supporters have touted as an alternative to the Medicaid expansion called for under the federal health care law. The proposal would allow the state to purchase private insurance through an exchange set up through the law.
The federal government must still approve Arkansas' plan. Federal officials have said the concept is consistent with Medicaid's requirements.
Arkansas lawmakers gave final approval to the private option bills last week.
COMPLETE COVERAGEArk. Medicaid faces nearly $200M funding gap (Nov. 13)Ark. Medicaid faces 'significant' cuts in services (Nov. 13)Beebe: Medicaid expansion can spare nursing homes (Nov. 14)Ark. surgeon general addresses Medicaid expansion (Nov. 27)Beebe: Vote on Medicaid expansion during regular session (Jan. 3)Medicaid expansion hot topic leading up to general assembly (Jan. 7)Focus on Medicaid as Ark. session begins (Jan. 14)Beebe: Medicaid shortfall not as large as anticipated (Jan. 15)Ark. lawmakers seek more details on Medicaid (Jan. 17)Medicaid shortfall possibly $60 million less than expected (Jan. 17)Impact of Medicaid expansion on rural hospitals (Jan. 25)Ark. House GOP leader: Medicaid a work in progress (Jan. 28)Beebe: Don't delay Medicaid vote until next year (Feb. 11)Officials tout 'Medicaid contraction' (March 1)Ark. lawmakers approve contract on Medicaid (March 5)Ark. GOP leader floats special session on Medicaid (March 25)Westerman: Delay insurance vote until next year (April 1)Ark. panel OKs Medicaid money for private option (April 3)House, Senate approve "private option" Medicaid expansion, bills head to governor (April 17)Arkansas governor to sign Medicaid bill Monday (April 18)Ark. Gov. signs 'private option' plan into law (April 23)