Arkansas lawmakers agree to accommodate health insurance to include more low-income citizens of the state.
The Arkansas plan is drawing the attention of other Republican-controlled states like Texas and Louisiana, since it intends to use federal funds to buy private insurance for the most susceptible citizens without creating a major government expansion.
AdvertisementAccording to Obama's health law - the government intends to cover at least 12 million people in the next decade - thus expanding Medicaid.
Arkansas lawmakers plan is to use federal funds to cover state residents who earn 133% of the poverty line or $15,415 per year. The insurance will be bought from health exchange.
To make this plan workable Arkansas House required a majority of 75 votes - they had to expunge the result and re-vote a second time to achieve the target.
Representative Sue Scott, a Republican, voted against the bill on Monday, but voted in favor on Tuesday after pressure from constituents.
"I've received too many calls from real people," Scott said in explaining her change of vote.
The Democrats were also in approval, "the private option is win-win for our state's economy, small businesses, and most importantly, the working Arkansans who will have health care coverage, "said Candace Martin, spokeswoman for the Democratic Party of Arkansas.
Provisions of the healthcare reform law have been challenged in court cases around the country. In a landmark ruling last June, the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed the healthcare reform law on constitutional grounds but allowed states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion.
The expansion has since been accepted by governors in about half of the 50 U.S. states.
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Suzi Parker, 17 April 2013
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