LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas will recieve a $42 million grant from the federal government for the state's initiative to change the way Medicaid pays for services. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the grant to Arkansas on Thursday. Arkansas is one of six states that received grants to rein in rising health care costs.
Arkansas has been rolling out a program that changes the way Medicaid pays for services from a fee-for-service model to one where it pays for "episodes" of care. The changes are aimed at curbing the growth of Medicaid's costs. Private insurers have also joined the initiative.
DHS officials said the grant shows the federal government believes in what the state is doing and that it could be a model for other states.
Gov. Mike Beebe is meeting with the Obama administration this week to see how much flexibility Arkansas may have as it decides whether to expand Medicaid's eligibility under the federal health care law.
A spokesman said Beebe plans to meet with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday while he's in Washington for the National Governors Association meeting. Beebe is a Democrat who backs expanding Medicaid but has faced resistance from the Republican-led House and Senate in Arkansas.
One of the ideas that Beebe plans to discuss is whether Arkansans making just above poverty can purchase insurance on an exchange rather than go on expanded Medicaid.
House Speaker Davy Carter told reporters he hopes to get answers to questions lawmakers are seeking as they consider Medicaid expansion.