Arkansas Lawmakers Approve Overhaul of Medicaid Expansion

Arkansas Lawmakers Approve Overhaul of Medicaid Expansion
The Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock. (Lance Turner)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers on Tuesday gave final approval to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's plan to overhaul the state's Medicaid expansion by encouraging work by recipients rather than requiring it.

The House voted 64-34 for the legislation, sending it to the Republican governor's desk.

Under the measure, the program will continue to use Medicaid funds to place recipients on private health insurance. But under the proposal, those who don’t work or attend school could be moved to the traditional fee-for-service Medicaid program. More than 300,000 people are currently on the state’s Medicaid expansion.

Hutchinson and GOP lawmakers proposed the overhaul after a work requirement for the expansion was blocked by federal courts and President Joe Biden's administration.

The Biden administration must still approve the changes. The state Department of Health has said it will submit its proposal for the new expansion program by July.

The proposal includes other changes, including a home-visiting program for at-risk moms.

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