LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas' plan to use federal money to buy private insurance for low-income residents won final approval from state lawmakers Wednesday, endorsing a model that several other states are eyeing as a possible alternative to expanding Medicaid.

The Republican-controlled Legislature narrowly reached the three-fourths majority needed to pass the proposal, which was a compromise reached between leading GOP lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe.

Under the proposal, Arkansas would accept the money intended for Medicaid expansion under the federal health care law, but instead use it to buy private insurance for about 250,000 eligible low-income residents. Those individuals who earn up to 138 percent of the poverty line — or $15,415 per year — would purchase subsidized private insurance through the state's insurance exchange.

Subsidizing the purchase of private insurance for low-income residents as opposed to adding them to the state's Medicaid rolls was viewed by Republican backers of the plan as the most palatable response to President Barack Obama's health care law — a policy many GOP lawmakers campaigned against last fall as they won control of the state Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.