State Reform Update: Ark. Medicaid Alternative in Spotlight as Other States Mull Similar Plans

Arkansas lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday night to the governor's plan to use new federal Medicaid funding to buy private coverage in the coming insurance exchanges.

The bumpy advance of the unusual proposal is continuing to get notice in other conservative-leaning states. Now it's likely to draw intense federal scrutiny.

The plan gained passage Tuesday in the Republican-led House, 77-23, after it failed in the same chamber a day earlier. The Senate passed the measure late Wednesday.

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Source: Modern Healthcare

Success in the Arkansas legislature will "allow other states to evaluate what they're going to do on the expansion, including states like Ohio,” said Edwin Park, vice president for health policy at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe is expected to sign the bill. "It's taking something that most Arkansans would never have approved and making it better," Beebe told reporters Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. "And making it fit for Arkansas."