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Arkansas lawmakers to try again on 'private option' bill

February 20, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers are to try again with legislation to keep the state's compromise Medicaid expansion alive, despite previous defeats in the state House.

The Senate and House are expected to vote Thursday on identical measures funding the "private option" that was approved last year as an alternative to the Medicaid expansion under the federal health law. Through the private option, Arkansas is using federal Medicaid money to purchase private insurance for low-income residents.

The legislation has failed to win enough support in two votes before the House this week. It needs 75 votes in the 100-member House and 27 in the 35-member Senate.

Arkansas was the first state to win federal approval for such a compromise and several other states are exploring or pursuing similar models.

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