Beebe: Meeting with HHS chief on Medicaid expansion productive


LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Mike Beebe said Friday he had a productive meeting with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about Medicaid expansion.

Beebe met with Sebelius while in Washington for a meeting of the National Governors Association.

“I had a productive meeting Friday afternoon with Secretary Sebelius,” Beebe said in a statement. “I presented her with the ideas raised by our legislators, particularly the option that at least some of the potential Arkansas expansion population would be able to obtain private insurance coverage through our exchange. The secretary has given me feedback, which I will share with legislators, concerning the choices available to Arkansans as our state moves forward.”

Arkansas is deciding whether to expand Medicaid to include people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line under the federal Affordable Care Act. Republican legislative leaders recently met with Beebe and gave him a list of questions they say they want answered before they can make a decision on expansion.

Republicans hold majorities in the state House and Senate.

“I am always cautious in my optimism, but I feel good about Arkansas’ options coming out of this meeting,” Beebe said Friday.