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ARKANSAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY GOES HOME AFTER LONGEST SESSION SINCE THE DEPRESSION; HEALTH CARE AND MEDICAID HIGHLIGHT THE SESSION

Health Law Bulletin from the Mitchell, Blackstock, Ivers and Sneddon law firm

“Private option” is Arkansas’ answer to federal health care reform.  In the longest legislative session since the early 1930’s, the Arkansas General Assembly passed legislation that will have an unprecedented impact on the Arkansas Medicaid program, Arkansas medical providers, and low-income uninsured Arkansans. As Arkansas’ response to federal health care reform, and an alternative to expansion of the existing fee-for-service Medicaid program, the General Assembly passed the Health Care Independence Act of 2013.

This Act will allow individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level to obtain health insurance with premium subsidies based on their income. The federal Department of Health and Human Services has given its blessing to the concept, and a number of other states are considering following Arkansas’ lead. The General Assembly passed a number of other health care related bills. Act 562 updates the Medicaid Fairness Act to incorporate the new payment improvement initiative, clarify some of the due process provisions for providers, and transfer Medicaid provider appeals to be heard by administrative law judges in the Arkansas Department of Health. Act 1499 creates a Medicaid Inspector General, appointed by the Governor and independent from the Department of Human Services, whose office will be responsible for fighting fraud and abuse in the Medicaid program.

For more information on other legislation, click here.

 

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