Arkansas Panel OKs Medicaid Money for Private Option

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press  on Wednesday, Apr. 3, 2013 2:31 pm  

The top Republican in the House has signed on as a co-sponsor to the private option proposal, but has called for delaying a final vote until the Legislature meets next year. Rep. Bruce Westerman, the House majority leader, said there's also a possibility he may not vote for the bill in its current form.

"I believe in trusting but verifying. If we pass this bill right now and go home, we're going to go home but have no chance to verify," said Westerman, R-Hot Springs.

Beebe again rejected that proposal, saying it would mean the state would miss out on a year of full federal funding for the insurance proposal. He also called on lawmakers to approve the private option bill before any of $100 million in tax cuts legislative leaders are seeking. Beebe has said the savings created from the private insurance proposal could pay for a substantial amount of tax cuts.

"I've been consistent throughout in saying that if you want tax cuts without hurting people, then you're going to have to pay for them and the private option does that," Beebe said.

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