Arkansas Senate passes, House rejects health plan

Sen. Jim Hendren, R-Gravette, speaks against reauthorized funding for the "private option" program that uses federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for low-income Arkansas residents in the Senate chamber at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. The Senate voted to continue the state's compromise Medicaid expansion plan.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Legislation to continue Arkansas' compromise Medicaid expansion has failed for a third time in the state House, despite winning approval in the Senate.

The House on Thursday voted 72-25 Thursday to reauthorize funding for the "private option," falling three votes shy of the 75 needed to keep the program alive. It was the third failed vote in the House for the program, approved last year as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law.

Under the private option, Arkansas is using federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. House leaders have said they'll keep holding votes on the program until it passes.

Earlier Thursday, the Senate approved an identical funding bill for the private option.



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