|Updated: 1/14 9:35 am
||Published: 1/13 4:27 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- The 89th General Assembly convenes Monday morning and priority number one for lawmakers centers around Medicaid.
In a recent meeting with reporters, leaders of the now Republican-controlled legislature say finding answers won't be easy.
"The long term effects of what comes out, what decision is made, whatever decision is made, it is so greatly important to the state. We got to be comfortable in knowing what we are dealing with," said newly elected speaker Davy Carter.
The program has a $138 million dollar shortfall, plus lawmakers must decide whether to expand Medicaid to Arkansans without private insurance
"I think we need to take our time and get this right, for every member. I think it is the most important issue," said Republican President Pro-Tempore Michael Lamoureux
It is an issue Democratic Governor Mike Beebe says will require cooperation from both parties.
"I think where there are disagreements, however, they won't be personal, which always helps. It's hard to come to any sort of consensus or agreement, if you really don't like each other. It's possible, but its harder to do," said Beebe.