Arkansas House Reauthorizes Insurance Program for Low-Income Residents

Following four failed previous votes, the Arkansas House of Representatives passed legislation to reauthorize a state program providing health insurance premium assistance to low-income residents, according to a report from The New York Times.

The Arkansas Private Option was launched last fall as an alternative to Medicaid expansion under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It uses federal funds to offer health insurance premium assistance to more than 200,000 state residents with incomes below or at the federal poverty line. The state uses those federal funds to provide vouchers that people can use to buy health plans from private insurers through the health insurance exchange. More than 100,000 people have gained coverage through the Private Option so far.

The fate of the program remained uncertain during the past few weeks as the Arkansas House repeatedly fell short of the 75 votes needed to pass legislation that would ensure the program's survival through the next fiscal year. The bill faced opposition from conservative representatives such as Rep. Bruce Westerman, who has said passing the appropriation bill for the Private Option would make the state "an enabler for Obamacare."

Paul Cunningham, executive vice president of the Arkansas Hospital Association, says the program stands to benefit hospitals significantly. Although the AHA doesn't have hard data on the initiative's impact so far, he says some state hospital CEOs have indicated they saw a 25 to 30 percent year-over-year decline in self-pay patients in January.

More Articles on Medicaid Expansion:
4 Recent Stories on Medicaid Expansion  
Analysis Estimates PPACA Medicaid Enrollment at 2.4M to 3.5M
Medicaid Expansion Alternative in Arkansas Faces Legislative Jeopardy 

Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars