LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers on Friday narrowly approved a $10.6 million grant to continue operating the state’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange, despite objections from some legislators over the law’s rocky start.
The Arkansas Legislative Council approved the grant on a 21-18 vote, allowing the state insurance department to continue operating and promoting the online marketplace. Arkansas is operating its exchange in partnership with the federal government.
“This is basically to support Arkansans and help them go through this very complicated process,” State Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford told reporters after the vote. “I commend the Legislature for approving it.”
The grant was approved after Bradford and other state insurance department officials faced questions from GOP members of the panel who said they were concerned about the troubled implementation of PPACA. The problems have included Internet glitches that prevented many from signing up for coverage when the exchange launched in October, and cancellation notices some have received from insurance companies.
“I know you’re trying to do what you think you’re supposed to, but it’s a bigger problem and the rules are changing,” state Rep. Terry Rice, R-Waldron, told Bradford.