With coverage for 100,000 residents on the line, neither the Arkansas House nor the Senate wants to be the first to approve continuing the state’s Medicaid expansion plan.
The Legislature is wrapped up this week in debates over renewing funding for the state’s “private option” program, which accepts federal funds for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act and uses them to buy private plans on the exchange.
The House voted 68-27 to approve the funding Wednesday, but it was seven votes short of passage. This followed a 70-27 House vote Tuesday.
Arkansas requires a 75 percent approval to pass spending bills, leaving the legislation in a kind of limbo until one side can muster a supermajority. Votes are continuing this week until a few members cave.
Both the House and Senate likely have the votes to ultimately pass the amended “private option” plan, but each wants to wait for the other to go first, according to the Arkansas Times. Both chambers were originally scheduled to vote on the bill Wednesday, but the Senate postponed its vote.
“We’re just going to wait on the House,” Senate President Pro Tem Michael Lamoureux said. “Just one more day. We’re not in any particular hurry.”
Senate leaders say they have the necessary 27 votes to approve the bill once it comes to a vote, though nothing can be certain with such a narrow margin.
Meanwhile, some say enough House members would flip their vote to approve the bill, once it is passed in the Senate. Republican House Speaker Davy Carter has said the House will continue voting until the bill is passed.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the private option Thursday morning, with the House following in the afternoon.
What We're Following See More »
A group advising Donald Trump on Native American issues is encouraging him to privatize Indian reservations, taking the land out of the hands of the "suffocating federal bureaucracy." Currently, tribes have rights to the land but don't own it, meaning they can drill, but only under strenuous government restriction. Markwayne Mullin, a Republican congressman from Oklahoma and a member of the Cherokee tribe thinks the plan would be supported by Native American tribes nationally.
As has been rumored for a week, Donald Trump will nominate Ben Carson, his former rival, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In a statement, Trump said, "We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up."
"Supporters of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on Saturday withdrew a last-ditch lawsuit in Pennsylvania state court aimed at forcing a statewide ballot recount, another major setback in the effort to verify the votes in three states that provided President-elect Donald Trump his margin of victory. Ms. Stein’s campaign announced in a statement Saturday that the Pennsylvania lawsuit had been dropped after the court demanded that a $1 million bond be posted by the 100 Pennsylvania residents who brought the suit."
In a series of early-morning tweets on Sunday, Donald Trump threatened companies that attempt to relocate out of the country. "Any business that leaves our country for another country, fires its employees, builds a new factory or plant in the other country, and then thinks it will sell its product back into the U.S. without retribution or consequence, is WRONG!," he wrote. "There will be a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35% for these companies."