LITTLE ROCK – On it’s 5th vote in two weeks, the Arkansas House of Representatives approved today by a vote of 76-24 the reauthorization for private option funding contained within SB111. Many of the larger groups in the state, including the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, had pushed for approval of the measure. The companion bill, HB1150, had failed in four previous votes despite Speaker of the House Davy Carter’s assertions that the measure would ultimately be approved.
With passage of the private option funding comes assurance that SREB funding for Arkansas dental students currently enrolled in out-of-state schools will be fully funded for the 2014-15 academic year. The Arkansas legislature had slashed the number of funded positions for D-1 students in the current academic year from 30 to 14. But Governor Mike Beebe stepped in and provided “rainy day” funds to fill the gap. The legislature will again consider the SREB funding when it reconvenes in the next legislative session beginning in January 2015 under the leadership of a new governor.
With funding of the private option in place, many stakeholders within the healthcare system will continue the process of determining the impact of about 250,000 Arkansans becoming insured. For information on how dentistry in Arkansas will be affected by the private option and the Affordable Care Act, see the attached report, FAQs for Arkansas Dentists: The Impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Health Care and Insurance in Arkansas.