- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Joint Budget Committee is to discuss continuing the private insurance option under the expansion of the Medicaid program in Arkansas.

The panel meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday to continue a discussion from last week in which there wasn’t time to fully address the topic.

Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe wants to continue the private option, which has enabled tens of thousands of low-income Arkansans to sign up for free or subsidized health coverage.

But the Legislature narrowly approved the Medicaid expansion last year and the margins appear to have tightened with Republicans picking up a Senate seat in a special election this month.

On Thursday, implementation of the private option is on the agenda of the Joint Public Health Committee.

The fiscal session of the Legislature starts Feb. 10.

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