Arkansas governor to sign Medicaid bill Monday

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - A spokesman says Gov. Mike Beebe will sign legislation next week that authorizes Arkansas to accept federal Medicaid funds and use them to buy private insurance for low-income residents.

Beebe will sign the bills at a ceremony next Monday at 9:30 a.m. The Legislature gave final approval to the plan Wednesday night.

Even after Arkansas adopts the "private option" Medicaid plan, it won't be implemented until federal officials sign off on the proposal. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has endorsed the concept but hasn't given permission for Arkansas' specific plan.

Republican legislative leaders and Beebe, a Democrat, promoted the Medicaid "private option" as an alternative to expanding the state's Medicaid enrollment under the federal health care law.

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)
Beebe relying on lawmakers for exchange decision (Nov. 19)

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)
House passes Medicaid expansion funding; bill heads to Senate (April 16)
House, Senate approve 'private option' Medicaid expansion; bills head to governor (April 17)