The debate over whether Arkansas will have a state-run health insurance exchange, a federal one, or a hybrid may be moot for now.
Gov. Mike Beebe (D) told reporters on Wednesday that Arkansas will opt into a partnership with the federal government to implement a health insurance exchange, which is part of the Affordable Care Act.
The federal health care reform law calls on states to have insurance exchanges where qualified individuals and businesses can shop for health insurance options.
John Lyon with our content partner, the Arkansas News Bureau, reports:
Talking to reporters on Wednesday, Beebe said the state will go ahead with the partnership option, although he said he believes the state can seek a state-run exchange in the future.
“The Legislature has not indicated any desire to do anything different yet, but they’re still gathering information and they may well decide that after this first year they want to go to a purely state-run exchange. That option, as I understand it, will still be on the table,” the governor said.
Beebe and state insurance officials say a state-run exchange is the best option because it would allow the state to tailor aspects of the exchange to the needs of Arkansans. Republican legislators, who will control both chambers of the Legislature next year, say they have too many unanswered questions to support a state-run exchange, including questions about potential costs to the state.
Beebe said Wednesday he was confident that Arkansas would have more opportunities to opt for a state-run exchange.
“The information we’ve gotten from the feds (is), you can’t just change overnight, you have got to do some additional planning, but it’s my understanding that we can change going forward in the future if the Legislature decides that they don’t want the feds to do it and that they would rather have the state do it,” he said.
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