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Ark. lowers Medicaid shortfall projection to $61M

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 31, 2013 at 3:54 pm •  Published: January 31, 2013

DHS said Medicaid's growth is the lowest it has been in 25 years, and credited much of the savings to the state's efforts to change the way Medicaid pays for services from a fee-for-service model to one where it pays for "episodes" of care.

"While the initiative only includes a handful of disciplines so far, other providers are getting ahead of the game and adopting a similar philosophy that benefits both our patients and our state budget," Beebe said.

State legislative leaders, who had proposed using more of the state's surplus than Beebe has proposed to avoid the cuts, welcomed the news.

"It's a positive thing," House Speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot, told reporters. "It's another material piece of data that keeps rolling off the line that we're getting as the session moves on. To me, it means that it's less money that we have to worry about funding short-term."

The new shortfall also came out as lawmakers are weighing whether to expand the state's Medicaid program's eligibility under the federal health care law. Beebe backs the expansion but has faced resistance from the Republican-led House and Senate.