Focus on Medicaid as Ark. session begins Monday

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 13, 2013 at 3:17 pm •  Published: January 13, 2013
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Leaders of the Arkansas House and Senate say questions about the financial health and future of the state's Medicaid program will ultimately drive the agenda during this year's legislative session.

The Medicaid debate looms as the biggest issue facing lawmakers as they convene Monday for the 89th General Assembly. The session marks the first time in 138 years that Republicans will control the House and the Senate. It's also the last regular legislative session for Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe.

Lawmakers are weighing how to deal with a $138 million shortfall in the state's Medicaid budget that officials have proposed addressing by cuts to several services. They're also considering a proposal to expand Medicaid's eligibility under the federal health care law.