Negotiations with feds on private option continue; announcement expected Feb. 17 | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Negotiations with feds on private option continue; announcement expected Feb. 17

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 10:15 AM

The D-G reports this morning on continuing negotiations between the governor and federal officials over the future of the private option. Gov. Asa Hutchinson met with the feds on Monday in Washington. 

Nothing specific so far. Basically, as expected, the governor's "Arkansas Works" framework is in range of what the feds will accept and now they're haggling over details. 

Senate President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang, who joined the governor at the meeting, told the paper that there were "differences of opinion" with federal Health and Human Services Sec. Sylvia Burwell but she "seemed like she was willing to work with the state to try to get those differences hammered out."

Dismang expressed confidence that the negotiators would "get where we need to be regarding the Arkansas Works policy."

House Speaker Jeremy Gillam, also at the meeting, said they were working on "logistics and "still have a little work to do before we can reach a consensus."

The governor's office has said that he won't make any comment until the Feb. 17 meeting of the Health Reform Legislative Task Force. I expect a full, detailed presentation of an agreement on the Arkansas Works framework at that meeting. That framework will then need supermajorities in both houses of the legislature. The final, official waiver amendment won't come until later in the year. 

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