Beebe Talks Medicaid Expansion, Hints at ‘Promising’ Project
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe focused on health care and jobs in Tuesday’s State of the State address in Little Rock.
The governor wants to expand the state health program for the poor and reduce the grocery tax. Both democrats and republicans had positive reaction to the speech.
The Medicaid expansion would add a quarter of a million Arkansans living in poverty.
“Available healthcare has always been an important component in economic development,” the governor said.
Democrats support Medicaid expansion.
“For the first time in 25 years our cost if Medicaid is coming down,” said Rep. Uvalde Lindsey, D-Fayetteville. “That’s a great thing and it bodes well for the future for the state of Arkansas.”
Republicans want more information before coming on board.
“We want to be sure that it is sustainable if we should do the expansion,” said Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, R-Rogers.
Beebe also hinted at a major economic project for the state, but wouldn’t discuss specifics.
“There’s still a small contingency that us being worked out and until that’s through we’re not ready to make any announcements, but it looks promising,” he said.
For the first time since the late 1800′s republicans control the House and Senate. The democratic governor stressed the need for compromise.
“The house is split almost 50/50,” said Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville. “For us to get anything done we’re gonna have to have considerable consensus on both sides.”
The governor says his top priorities are still education and economic development.
He also proposed a two percent cost of living adjustment for state employees.