UPDATE, 12:35 p.m. ET: The Medicaid funding bill failed again Friday in the House, but more votes have been scheduled for next week.
Less than a month ago, the prospects for Obamacare's Medicaid expansion in Arkansas looked dire. The state had already expanded the program this year, but the legislature needed to approve its funding again. Conservatives confidently predicted that they had enough votes to block next year's funding. Insurance for more than 80,000 people hung in the balance, creating the real possibility that people could actually lose coverage that they had gained under the law.
But, after a week of political horse-trading and inexplicable posturing, the program -- and that coverage for low-income Arkansans -- is on the verge of being saved.
The Arkansas Senate, where conservatives had pledged to make their stand, approved the funding Thursday by the 75-percent majority necessary under state law to keep federal money flowing for the program.
The House is expected to vote Friday, and most local observers anticipate it will pass. Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe is sure to sign it once it clears that chamber.
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