New Arkansas Governor Plans to Replace Medicaid Expansion After 2016

Newly elected Arkansas Gov Asa Hutchinson said he wants to continue the state's Medicaid expansion compromise through December 31, 2016, but he is keeping his options open for a new plan in the future.

Newly elected Arkansas Gov Asa Hutchinson said he wants to continue the state’s Medicaid expansion compromise through December 31, 2016, but he is keeping his options open for a new plan in the future. The Republican replaced Democrat Mike Beebe.

In a speech at the University of Arkansas Medical School, Mr Hutchinson said he will create a legislative task force to consider better healthcare options for 2017 and beyond.

“It is time to close this chapter and to start a new one,” he said during the speech. “It is a new day for healthcare in Arkansas.”

The Arkansas Medicaid expansion uses federal dollars to help low-income people purchase private health insurance plans and had been rejected 4 previous times by the state’s House of Representatives before narrowly passing.

The funds for the so-called “private option” of Medicaid expansion must be re-authorized each year by a three-fourths majority. The governor is now asking the 100-member House and 35-member Senate to re-authorize the program for one more year.

Former Arkansas Surgeon General Joe Thompson, MD, spoke to AJMCtv about the state’s Medicaid expansion compromise in October, shortly before the mid-term elections. The state was interested in expanding Medicaid because it played into a larger plan for system-wide transformation.

Dr Joe Thompson on the Arkansas “Private Option” Medicaid Expansion.