Arkansas Lawmakers Weigh 'Private Option' Amendments

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press  on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 4:16 pm  

LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas lawmakers are moving forward with an effort to save a compromise Medicaid expansion by barring the state from promoting the expanded coverage or the federal health overhaul.

The proposal endorsed by a legislative subcommittee Wednesday is aimed at swaying opponents of the private option that was approved last year as an alternative to expanding Medicaid. Under the private option, Arkansas is using federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for thousands of low income residents.

The proposal would bar the state from spending public money on advertising or outreach of the private option. It would also bar the state from spending money on a navigator program to sign people up for the insurance exchange created under the federal health law.

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