Arkansas governor: Medicaid rolls dropped by 117K last year

Arkansas’ governor on Thursday touted an 11 percent drop in the state’s Medicaid rolls over the past year as he prepared for another potential fight in the Legislature to keep the state’s hybrid Medicaid expansion alive.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Department of Human Services officials said that enrollment in the state’s Medicaid program dropped by more than 117,000 people from 2017 to 2018. Nearly 59,000 of that came from the state’s hybrid expansion, which uses Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents.

Hutchinson said the causes of the decline were better reviews of the rolls to remove those who were no longer eligible, as well as more participants finding work and moving off the program.

The Republican governor announced the enrollment figures a little over a month before the Legislature meets for a session focused primarily on the state’s budget. A pair of vacancies in the state Senate that won’t be filled until a special election in May has created uncertainty on whether there are enough votes to continue the Medicaid expansion, which requires three-fourths support.

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