Arkansas Lawmakers Seek to Freeze Medicaid Enrollments

Thousands of Arkansas residents could lose out on Medicaid coverage if state lawmakers approve a freeze on new enrollments.  (AMRImage/iStockphoto) March 6. 2017

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – With an estimated 330,000 people enrolled in Arkansas’s expanded Medicaid program, state lawmakers are now taking steps to freeze enrollment.

The state adopted a plan that uses Medicaid funds to buy health care from the insurance marketplace for those eligible, and the number of people who signed up has far exceeded expectations.

Marquita Little, health policy director for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, says a lot of people could be negatively affected if lawmakers lock the program down too soon.

“The current programs that are available because of the Affordable Care Act definitely will be different in the future,” she states. “Because we don’t know what those changes will be, it’s very premature for the state to move forward with any type of state legislation that caps enrollment in any way.”

The Arkansas House passed a bill on Friday to freeze Medicaid enrollments as of July 1, and the Senate takes it up this week.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson opposes the freeze, and in any case,

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