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“Hot Topics.” 2017 Legislative session in full swing

Arkansas Works, Arkansas’s Medicaid expansion program, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have surfaced as hot topics this legislative session as Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committees in both the House of Representatives and Senate appealed to standing room only crowds.

US Senate Republicans approved a blueprint budget this week for removing parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a series of articles in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The move for the budget was made in an attempt to avoid the threat of a Democrat filibuster.

According to Arkansas Legislative Digest, the House Public Health, Welfare and Labor committee filed an amendment to Bill 1025 which would authorize “the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to monitor prescription abuse among Medicaid beneficiaries in the Arkansas Medicaid prescription drug program.” The amendment was placed on the House calendar and adopted on Jan. 11, 2017.

An amendment was also filed and adopted to the Initiated Act I of 2000, also known as the Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act. Bill 1033 would amend the Act “to extend medical assistance and community-based services to adults and children with intellectual and development disabilities.”

Bill 1043 was withdrawn from further consideration which would have modified immunization and vaccine requirements in children as well as removed any exemptions to immunization due to philosophical and or religious beliefs. It would have also added hepatitis B, rotavirus, pneumococcus, haemophilus and hepatitis A to the list of require immunizations for elementary and secondary school attendance.


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