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Private option overshadows GOP primaries in Arkansas

Posted: March 15, 2014 at 2:19 p.m.

The fight over Arkansas' compromise Medicaid expansion may be over in the Legislature, but it's now spilling over into a number of Republican primaries this spring.

GOP candidates who supported the private option plan to use federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for the poor are now facing friendly fire from within the party as they near the May 20 primary. The fight is spilling over into races that have nothing to do with the "private option" or health care, including the primaries for state treasurer and auditor.

Private option opponents are casting the program as no different than the federal health law Republicans have derided as "Obamacare." Supporters say that attack line is misleading and ignores efforts to reign in Medicaid's costs that are included in the program.

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