Ark. 'private option' Medicaid fails in House vote

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - A vote to fund the recently-passed Medicaid expansion in the State of Arkansas failed to get the supermajority needed in the House Monday afternoon.

After the daily House formalities, House Bill 1219 was the first bill up for consideration. Rep. Duncan Baird presented the budget bill in less than two minutes and not one representative got up to speak for or against the bill.

It went straight to a vote and came up short, getting only 69 of the needed 75. Once the votes were tallied, Speaker Davy Carter adjourned, even though there were several more items on the calendar.

Just minutes after the vote, Gov. Mike Beebe was speaking with House and Senate Republicans.

He then told media, "I think [Tuesday's] it. If they don't pass it [Tuesday], then shut the session down and go home. And the sad reality is that everybody on both sides of this aisle that studied all this have concluded that if they don't pass this, the people voting against this will be voting for the biggest tax increase on small business in the history of Arkansas."

Budget bills can be voted on as many times as they are brought to the floor, so it could be voted on again Tuesday as the governor mentioned. A couple of representatives scheduled town hall meetings for Monday night to hear what their constituents want them to do in case it does come up for a vote Tuesday.

Despite some talk about possibly extending the session or calling for a special session to give representatives more time to study the bill, Gov. Beebe has told Channel 7 News several times that he will not call a special session.

Ark. 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)
Ark. panel OKs Medicaid money for private option (April 3)

Ark. Senate approves 'private option' proposal (April 5)
Ark. House sets health care expansion meeting (April 6)
Medicaid expansion hits roadblock in the House (April 9)
"Private option" Medicaid expansion passes House, still faces tough vote (April 11)
Ark. 'private option' fails in House vote (April 15)