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Arkansas Senate Panel Advances Plan For Medicaid Compromise

Lawmakers have advanced Gov. Asa Hutchinson's plan to continue Arkansas' compromise Medicaid expansion through 2016, rejecting an effort to abolish the program later this year.

The Senate Public Health Committee on Wednesday endorsed legislation that would create a task force to look at alternatives to the "private option" as well as longer-term Medicaid reforms.

The Joint Budget Committee also advanced a funding bill that will reauthorize the program for another year.

Under the private option, Arkansas is using federal funds to purchase private insurance for the poor. Hutchinson, a Republican, proposed the task force last week as he called on lawmakers to continue the program.

The committee rejected on a 3-3 vote a competing proposal calling for an end to the private option on Dec. 31.

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