Arkansas Legislative Council Fails to Block Obamacare Grant

Health insurance exchange: Dr. Mike Beebe has the cure for what ails you
Health insurance exchange: Dr. Mike Beebe has the cure for Arkansas!

By a vote of 28-17, the Arkansas Legislative Council — a committee that acts as the legislature when the legislature is not in session– rejected a motion for further discussion on a $18.4 million grant to fund Obamacare “partnership” exchanges in Arkansas.

Rep. John Burris moved that the funding be pulled from the report for further discussion so that the Legislative Council could hold a separate vote on the matter. Legislators voted along party lines, with the exception of Rep. Les Carnine (R-Rogers) who voted with the Democrats against further discussion.

The state will now accept the $18.4 million grant and move forward with the Obamacare exchanges. However, the legislature still has the option to move to implement a federal exchange instead of a partnership exchange in the upcoming legislative session. The funds will not be available for use until July 1, 2013, according to Rep. David Meeks.

The Advance Arkansas Institute distributed a paper to legislators this morning about the superiority of a federal exchange versus a partnership exchange which the legislature is currently pursuing. I will post a copy of this paper along with a copy of the full roll-call vote later this afternoon.

I also have a call in to Rep. Carnine. Stay tuned.

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