Health Care Expansion Funding Fails in House

- LITTLE ROCK, AR -- The Arkansas House rejected funding of health care expansion for more than 250,000 uninsured residents.

HB1219 failed 69-28, needing a 75 vote super majority to pass.

House Speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot and Governor Mike Beebe told reporters there will be one more vote to try and pass the appropriation on Tuesday morning.

"If it doesn't pass then, besides a few appropriations bills and the budget, the session is over, time to go home." Beebe said Monday.

Several legislators in the House took the weekend to host town hall meetings about the "private option" which allows the uninsured to purchase private health insurance when health care exchanges begin January 1, 2014 as part of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Representative Randy Alexander, R-Fayetteville, says his district is split 50/50 on the issue.

"Based on what i know today i think the private option is the best way to go," Alexander says. "But i voted against it because i told my constituents if we voted on it today before they had more time i would vote no."

Representative Ann Clemmer, R-Benton, says she planned to attend town hall meetings Monday evening in her home district of Saline County to hear from voters.

"I think we're a little bit ahead of where the public is right now, so this extra time still gives us time to bring the public on board," Clemmer says.

The House passed the legislation enabling health care expansion last Thursday with a 62-37 vote.

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