Arkansas' Medicaid expansion on chopping block

Although Arkansas trailblazed the idea to use a private option in expanding its Medicaid program, state lawmakers are considering putting a stop to the plan by June unless the GOP-led legislature renews support, reported Kaiser Health News. State Sen. John Cooper, a Tea Party Republican who won a special election last month, opposes Medicaid expansion and another GOP senator has changed his mind about the private option, tipping the balance in favor or rejecting the program. And medical specialists are complaining to lawmakers that the state's dominant insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arkansas, is cutting reimbursement rates by 15 percent for providers networked in plans sold on the health insurance exchange. The Arkansas legislature reconvenes Monday and will be discussing whether to end the private option. "If we lose one or two votes, it's critical," Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe told KHN. Article

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