Arkansas panel OKs proposed overhaul of Medicaid expansion

The Associated Press
Republican state Sen. Alan Clark talks to reporters at the Arkansas Capitol in Little Rock on Tuesday after voting for the budget bill for the state’s Medicaid program and its hybrid Medicaid expansion.

LITTLE ROCK — An Arkansas Senate committee on Thursday endorsed a plan to overhaul the state's Medicaid expansion to encourage rather than require recipients to work.

The Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee advanced the legislation after the state's previous Medicaid work requirement was blocked by the courts and President Joe Biden's administration.

The reworked program will still place recipients on private insurance paid for by federal and state funds. Under the proposal, though, those who don't work or attend school could be moved to a traditional fee-for-service Medicaid program. More than 300,000 people are currently on the state's Medicaid expansion.

The legislation now heads to the full Senate for a vote.

The proposal was unveiled Monday, weeks after the Biden administration moved to roll back Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas and several other states. A federal judge had already halted Arkansas' requirement, and an appeal was before the U.S. Supreme Court.