Arkansas House fails to pass Medicaid funding after court throws out work requirement

The Arkansas statehouse declined to reauthorize funding for the state’s Medicaid program in the wake of a federal court decision throwing out work requirements, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, an Obama appointee, ruled last week against the state’s plan to impose work requirements for the program. Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said Thursday he will ask the Trump administration to appeal the ruling.

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On Friday, lawmakers in the statehouse declined to reauthorize funding for the program. The House voted 52-28 in favor of appropriating more than $8 billion for the state Division of Medical Services, falling short of the three-quarters majority necessary to pass the appropriation, according to the newspaper.

Leaders in the Republican-controlled chamber plan to make another attempt this week, according to the Democrat-Gazette.

“I’m still optimistic,” House Speaker Matthew Shepherd said, according to the publication. “We all know, anytime this appropriation comes up, it’s going to be a bit of a challenge.”

Several lawmakers in the House have asked Rep. Lane Jean (R), the chair of the Joint Budget Committee, for additional time to consider the effect of the court ruling.

“I don’t think anybody here has been given proper information,” Rep. Julie Mayberry (R) said, according to the article. “We really don’t know how this affects our budget, long-term planning. The information I have received, all of it has just come from reading the newspaper.”

The state Senate passed the appropriations bill shortly before Boasberg’s rulings, according to the paper.