Ark. lawmakers approve $16.5M for exchange

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas lawmakers have approved spending nearly $16.5 million in federal funds to move the state closer toward setting up an insurance marketplace under the health care law.

The Arkansas Legislative Council on Tuesday approved spending the grants for setting up the insurance exchange, which will be run as a partnership between the state and the federal government. The state has received more than $43 million total from the federal government for the exchange.

The grants were approved on a 23-9 vote, with some Republican lawmakers objecting to spending any money toward implementing the federal health care law.

Open enrollment for the exchange is set to begin in October. The Arkansas Insurance Department says it expects at least 500,000 people to participate in the exchange.

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