(By David Ramsey for Kaiser Health News)
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson Thursday signed an appropriation bill into law and used a line-item veto to insure continuation of the state’s Medicaid expansion, ending a two-week budget standoff.
The Medicaid expansion covers more than 267,000 Arkansans who make less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level (about $16,000 for an individual or a little more than $33,000 for a family of four). The expansion came from a 2013 compromise between Republican lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe. It became known as the “private option” because the state received a federal waiver to use Medicaid funds to purchase private health insurance plans for most newly eligible beneficiaries, rather than placing them in the traditional Medicaid program.
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