Will Arkansas Take Federal Funds to Expand Medicaid Program?

Gov. Mike Beebe said the political rhetoric on Capitol Hill will not influence his decision whether to accept federal dollars to expand Arkansas' Medicaid program.

"Obama and Romney can do whatever Obama and Romney are doing...we're going to take care of Arkansas to the best of our ability," Beebe said at a news conference Monday morning.

An estimated 200,000 Arkansas are below the poverty line and do not have coverage. If the state accepts money from Washington as offered in the Affordable Care Act of 2010, will those funds be there in the years ahead?

"It's really a long term impact...uncertainty of what's it's really going to cost 10 or 20 years down the road," said Michael Pakko, Chief Economist and State Economic Forecaster with UALR.

Partisan politics, however, is going to bear some influence what happens.

Republican strategist Clint Reed says the debate over this particular aspect of the healthcare overhaul is just one battle in the fight.

"This is just a proxy battle in that big battle" over the role of government in the lives of individuals," Reed said.

Beebe is calling on his top administration officials to take a closer look at the ramifications of accepting money from the federal government.

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