Arkansas Senate approves Medicaid task force bill; governor signs 'private option' measure

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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed legislation continuing the state's compromise Medicaid expansion, while the Senate has given final approval to creating a task force to look at alternatives for covering those on the program.

A spokesman says Hutchinson signed the funding measure into law on Monday. The legislation reauthorizes the state's "private option" through June 30, 2016. Under the private option, Arkansas uses federal funds to buy private insurance for low-income residents.

Also Monday, the Senate approved creating the task force by a 26-5 vote. The 16-member body will study longer term reforms to the program and Medicaid as a whole. Hutchinson spokesman J.R. Davis says the governor would likely sign that measure Tuesday.

The task force must submit its recommendations by the end of the year.

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