- Associated Press - Thursday, June 30, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas has submitted to the federal government its request to add new restrictions to its first-in-the-nation hybrid Medicaid expansion.

The state Department of Human Services on Thursday announced it has requested approval for changes to the program, which uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for more than 250,000 low-income Arkansans. The department says it expects to receive approval of its request by the fall.

The proposed restrictions include charging premiums for some participants and requiring unemployed beneficiaries to be referred to job training or job search programs. Lawmakers earlier this year approved Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s plan to keep the program and add the restrictions.

The program has sharply divided Republicans since it was created three years ago as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law.

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