Second House Vote for Private Option Falls Short

By David Goins

Published 02/20 2014 07:33AM

Updated 02/20 2014 07:58AM

Little Rock -- For a second consecutive day, the Arkansas House failed an appropriation funding Medicaid expansion.

The House voted 68-27 for the Department of Human Services budget, which includes a $915 million in federal spending for the "private option."

House speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot, said despite the vote failing again, progress is being made.

"I'm 100% confident we will pass the appropriation," Carter says.

Meanwhile, a group of senators and representatives opposed to the private option say they would like to see an alternative approved ending the private option in March 2015.

Representative Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, says its difficult to break the "status quo" at the state capitol.

"What I'd really like to see is a situation where may be able to sit down and create an alternative that later on will enable some new ideas to come to the program," Ballinger says.

Carter, a fellow Republican says that is not going to happen.

"It takes 51 votes to get anything passed around here," Carter says. "You can't achieve that result by holding the budget process hostage."

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