Corbett Administration Hopes Arkansas Plan Paves Way For Private Medicaid Expansion Here

(Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett.  File photo by Patrick Smith/ Getty Images)

(Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett. File photo by Patrick Smith/ Getty Images)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Corbett administration officials say they are bolstered by news that the Obama administration has approved Arkansas’ private-option alternative for expanding Medicaid.

Corbett spokeswoman Christine Cronkright says the Arkansas plan is similar to the one proposed by her boss, Gov. Tom Corbett, in that it would use federal dollars to subsidize access to private health insurance coverage but is different in terms of the reforms to the Medicaid program that Pennsylvania is seeking.

But nonetheless, she says, federal approval of the Arkansas plan is a good sign.

“We are encouraged by HHS’s approval of Arkansas’ plan. We hope it’s an indication that the federal government’s willing to work a little bit more closely with states to develop solutions that work here at the local level versus the one-size-fits-all approach,” she told KYW Newsradio today.

Cronkright says Corbett administration officials had a “constructive” meeting with Health and Human Services officials last week and will be having more conversations with federal officials in the coming weeks.

Most other states are accepting federal money so they can widen the eligibility rules for Medicaid recipients in their state.  Corbett wants to tie eligibility to, among other things, a requirement that the recipient is looking for work.

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