Arkansas Medicaid Plan In Limbo After Another Failed House Vote

The state’s Medicaid expansion bill passed in the Senate Thursday, but failed again in the House.

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 20: Deborah Dion (L), Hattie Coleman and other protesters gather in the office of Florida State Rep. Manny Diaz as they protest his stance against the expansion of healthcare coverage on September 20, 2013 in Miami, Florida. As the protest took place, the Republican led House in Washington, D.C. by a 230-189 tally passed a short-term government spending plan that would eliminate all funding for 'Obamacare.' The Florida State government is also working against the Affordable Care Act by refusing to set up its own health care exchanges and they also have highlighted concerns about the navigators, federally funded workers who will help enroll people in health plans. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
National Journal
Sophie Novack
Feb. 20, 2014, 12:16 p.m.

The Arkan­sas Medi­caid ex­pan­sion saga will con­tin­ue in­to Fri­day.

The Sen­ate voted 27-8 Thursday to ap­prove reau­thor­iz­a­tion of fund­ing for the state’s “private op­tion,” which uses the fed­er­al funds for Medi­caid ex­pan­sion un­der the Af­ford­able Care Act to pur­chase private plans for low-in­come in­di­vidu­als on the ex­change.

The House then failed for the third time this week to pass the bill. The 72-25 vote fell three votes short of the re­quired su­per­ma­jor­ity to pass spend­ing bills in the Arkan­sas le­gis­lature.

Had the House passed the bill, an­oth­er vote would still be ne­ces­sary Fri­day, be­cause the le­gis­la­tion in the House and Sen­ate were sep­ar­ate—al­beit identic­al—bills. Both cham­bers must pass the same bill for it to be sent to the Gov­ernor’s desk.

The House is ex­pec­ted to take up the fund­ing bill again Fri­day. Re­pub­lic­an House Speak­er Davy Carter has said that the cham­ber will con­tin­ue vot­ing un­til it is passed.

Mem­bers have said that the House likely has the ne­ces­sary 75 votes to re­new the private op­tion, ac­cord­ing to Arkan­sas Times.

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