Health insurance expansion backed by Arkansas legislators

Health Insurance Program

Health Insurance ProgramThe Republican leaders of the House and the Senate in the state have supported the proposal.

In Arkansas, the Republican leaders of both the House and the Senate have given their backing to a proposal that would buy private health insurance for thousands of residents of the state who are workers within lower income brackets.

This purchase would be made using federal funds to help to ensure more wide scale affordable coverage.

This is the latest idea being considered by lawmakers in Arkansas as an alternative to increasing the enrollment for Medicaid in the state, under the recent federal healthcare reforms law. Davy Carter, the House Speaker, stated that he was also backing this proposal, which is being called the private option.

The governor of the state has been urging the Legislature to support this health insurance proposal.

Governor Mike Beebe (D) has called for the Legislature, which is under Republican control, to support this proposal. Michael Lamoureux, the Senate President, also said that he has given his support to the proposal.

According to Carter (R-Cabot), “I think the members here have taken what arguably was a terrible hand of cards that has been dealt to us by the federal government, and they’ve taken the hand and turned it into what I think is something good for Arkansas, good for our citizens”

In February, Beebe made the announcement that the state had received permission from the federal government to adopt this approach for purchasing private health insurance instead of broadening the enrollment of the state’s Medicaid. Under this new proposal for the private option, citizens in the lower income brackets, but who earn up to 138 percent of the poverty line (that is, $15,415 per year for a single individual) would be eligible to receive coverage that has been purchased using the federal funds that would otherwise have been designated for the Medicaid expansion.

This health insurance would be purchased through the state’s online marketplace, which is also being created under the federal healthcare reform laws. Lamoureux (R-Russelville) made a similar statement to Carter, saying that “From the overall state perspective, it’s a good compromise to try and get us out of here.”

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