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Carter: House & Senate Will Pass Private Option Again

The Arkansas Speaker of the House said Monday that both chambers of the general assembly will reauthorize the $915 million appropriation for the "private option".
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Speaker of the House said Monday that both chambers of the general assembly will reauthorize the $915 million appropriation for the "private option".

State representative Davy Carter, R-Cabot, told reporters he expects to vote on the medicaid expansion program as early as next week.

"It will probably start in the Senate, but if it gets held up there, we'll likely vote on it first here next week," Carter says. "Everybody needs to vote, and let's get this figured out."

Governor Mike Beebe has estimated implementation of the private option will save the state $89 million for the 2015 fiscal year beginning July 1st.

Those savings are offset by a tax cut package passed in 2013.

If three fourths of both chambers of the general assembly fail to support the private option, Beebe estimates it will create a $40-$50 million shortfall in the budget.

Carter says nothing gets done in this fiscal session until the private option is settled.

"I think this is going to go either really really smoothly or really really bad," Carter says.

The session is slated to last 30 days, but could be extended by an additional fifteen days.
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