State Senate introduces bill to add work requirements to Medicaid

Frederick Owens
March 10, 2018

Jennings said that the Senate Budget Bill is looking to make some cuts and the House Budget Bill is looking at spending some more.

The momentum shift is due in part to President Donald Trump's embrace of work requirements for low-income people on Medicaid.

With the help of votes of two senators who oppose the Medicaid expansion program, the bill cleared the short-handed Senate on Tuesday with the required 27 votes for approval. It is important to point out however that the 24 million in funding taken from Medicaid will be made up with budget surpluses elsewhere in the state budget.

"We are all committed to completing work on a state budget long before July 1, but after a lengthy and tiring session, the best step is for everyone to return home as we assess our next steps", Cox said.

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The House budget proposes using federal funds to pay for a version of Medicaid expansion, while the Senate does not.

"This is unfortunately where we are, and we have to move forward with the resolution so we can try to get a ballot out eventually", House Minority Leader David Toscano said.

A federal-state collaboration originally meant for poor families and severely disabled people, Medicaid has grown to become the largest government health insurance program, now covering 1 in 5 people.

The reversal of several top Republicans on Medicaid came after Democrats - fueled largely by voter antipathy toward President Donald Trump - made large gains the state House a year ago. Arkansas is the third state allowed to impose a work requirement on Medicaid.

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