The bill had previously struggled but has now passed to support the purchase of coverage for low income residents.
A proposal faced by the House in Arkansas that would use money that would otherwise have been designated for Medicaid, to purchase private health insurance for residents of the state in the lower income brackets has now been passed.
The hope is that it will assist in the overall efforts that are being made for healthcare reform in the state.
Other states with Republican led legislatures have been closely watching the progress of this health insurance bill, as they may consider making similar decisions for themselves. In order to pass this legislation, 75 votes were required. In this most recent vote, there were 77 that were in favor, while 23 were in opposition to it.
The health insurance bill had previously failed to pass when it was taken to a vote the day before.
The House Speaker, Davy Carter (R) chose to seek another vote in order to give the bill an additional chance to pass. Democratic Governor of Arkansas, Mike Beebe had already given his informal approval of the health insurance bill, back on February 18. This proposal was designed to use money from the federal government that was meant to expand the Medicaid system in the state under the Affordable Care Act, to purchase private plans for low income residents, instead.
According to Carter, “Arkansas now leads the nation with a conservative alternative to the policy forced upon us by the federal government.” This health insurance measure will now be headed to the Senate.
It is believed that many Republican led states will now be thinking about using this type of measure in their own application of the Affordable Care Act. They were likely holding off in order to see how the vote went in Arkansas before they moved forward. It is now hoped that these states will be able to find a middle road when it comes to the Medicaid expansion element of the healthcare reforms, providing conservatives with an approach that will operate through the private sector, instead.