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Legislative Audit Committee Approves Check Of Arkansas' New Private Option

Nathan Vandiver

The state’s Division of Legislative Audit will conduct a special report for lawmakers to assess the early days of enrollment into Arkansas’s Private Option Medicaid expansion plan.

The Legislative Joint Auditing Committee approved the special report Friday.

Supporters of the Private Option, including Representative Reginald Murdoch, asked whether the audit report of such a new program was meant to hamper its implementation.

“Please make the committee -- and the citizens of Arkansas and those of your district specifically -- know that you’re not just doing something to try to prolong or derail something that you are obviously against,” Murdoch said.

Joint Audit Committee Co Chair, Senator Bryan King, said he just wants to follow the program closely.

“I’m not trying to derail anything. I mean, I think, as members have said, they have questions that haven’t been answered. I think there is a purpose of the audit committee that we verify the numbers. It would be no different – and I have been against the bill, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to do anything at all to try and manipulate the facts, or do anything like that,” King said.

After the meeting, Department of Human Services director John Selig said DHS would be happy to comply with any questions lawmakers have and he doesn’t think it will hamper enrollment.

DHS spokeswoman Amy Webb said, as of last week, over 72,000 Arkansans have applied for health insurance through the state’s Private Option plan, and just over 49,000 have completed enrollment as of Tuesday.

Nathan Vandiver is the former General Manager of UA Little Rock Public Radio.
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