Arkansas Medicaid Faces $138M Deficit Next Year

The Arkansas Medicaid program is facing a $138 million shortfall next year, and Gov. Mike Beebe (D) has said expanding Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would help fight that deficit, according to a Seattle Post-Intelligencer/Associated Press report.

Earlier this week, Arkansas state officials proposed countering the Medicaid deficit through rate freezes for hospitals and other providers as well as elimination of the lowest level of nursing home care. The nursing home cuts would potentially save $35 million, but up to 15,000 low-income seniors would lose access to nursing care, according to the report.

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Gov. Beebe said expanding Medicaid would save $44 million next year and is his preferred method of action. However, approving that measure will require at least a three-fourths majority vote in both the state House and Senate.

The Arkansas Department of Health Services also said another option could be a "global waiver." The waiver would cap Arkansas' Medicaid spending over the next eight years, but the state would have more flexibility in terms of using federal Medicaid dollars, according to the report.

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The Medicaid Expansion: Opportunities and Challenges for Hospitals

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