Governor Asa Hutchinson Discusses Medicaid Spending

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA) — Governor Asa Hutchinson said Medicaid spending has a zero percent growth rate for the first time in Arkansas history.

He credits the state’s transformation efforts and drop in enrollment for traditional Medicaid and Arkansas Works. 

Last month, the state required more than 8,500 Arkansas Works recipients ages 30 to 49 to report 80 hours of work in order to stay insured. This includes volunteer efforts, schooling or job training experience.

Nearly 7,500 Works recipients failed to do that. If they miss three months out of the calendar year then their coverage will be discontinued. 

Opponents of the work requirement, including Hutchinson’s democratic opponent, argue an online-only reporting system is not fair, but Hutchinson said not reporting could mean a lot of things.

They could have gotten a better job, switched to their spouse’s insurance or moved. 

“If they are not giving us the information to verify that then that’s the responsible thing to do for the taxpayers and to manage the program,” said Gov. Hutchinson. 

Hutchinson reported the number of Arkansas Works recipients decreased from 330,000 to about 275,000. 

He said that’s where it should be based on the economy and management of the program. 

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