Ark. lawmakers approve contract on Medicaid

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas lawmakers have approved a $220,000 contract with a consultant to review Medicaid and other public assistance programs, despite objections from Democrats over the way the agreement was handled.

The Joint Budget Committee on Tuesday approved a four-month contract with the Alexander Group, LLC to review Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and child care assistance. It was approved on a 30-6 vote.

The firm is headed by Gary D. Alexander, who ran the Medicaid program in Rhode Island.

The contract's approval comes as lawmakers consider an alternate to Medicaid expansion that would allow the state to use federal funds to purchase private insurance for the newly eligible.

Democrats on the panel said they were concerned the contract was approved without issuing a request for proposals.

CONTINUING 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)