Ross unveils 'bill of rights' for older Arkansans

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Democrat Mike Ross is unveiling a series of proposals aimed at protecting older Arkansans, including a promise to preserve the state's "private option" Medicaid expansion.

The gubernatorial hopeful is announcing his "Seniors Bill of Rights" on Thursday. Ross says the plan would protect and empower Arkansas' aging population. About 14.5 percent of Arkansans are 65 or older, according to Census estimates.

The proposal includes a promise to protect the private option plan, which uses federal Medicaid money to buy private health insurance for low-income residents. As of June 30, more than 176,000 Arkansans had enrolled in the private option. The Legislature must reauthorize the program when it meets for its regular session next January.

Ross faces Republican Asa Hutchinson in the November general election to replace outgoing Gov. Mike Beebe.

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