Ark. panel votes to go forward with health grant

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - The Arkansas Legislative Council has voted to go forward with acceptance of an $18 million federal grant to set up a health insurance exchange.

Republican Rep. John Burris of Harrison tried Friday to strip the measure from a batch of items that were up for acceptance by the panel - but House and Senate members that comprise the council voted 29-17 against doing so.

Burris complained that he was denied the "courtesy" of being able to pull the measure out for discussion and a separate vote.

Establishment of health insurance exchanges is part of the federal health overhaul package that was ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court

Democrats are the majority on the council but Republicans will have the majority when the new General Assembly is sworn in January.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.