Beebe: Medicaid expansion can spare nursing homes

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe says expanding Medicaid eligibility under the federal health care law would be the best way to avoid removing thousands of people from nursing home care, but says he'll consider other ideas.

The governor told reporters Wednesday he wants to avoid cutting the lowest level of nursing home care currently covered by Medicaid, and that he's willing to talk to legislative leaders about alternatives.

The Department of Human Services says the state could save $35 million by dropping nursing home care for about 10,000-15,000 seniors.

Beebe said expanding Medicaid is the best way to avoid cuts, but he needs support from three-fourths of the House and Senate. Republicans will control the Legislature next year.

DHS says Arkansas could save $44 million next year if it expanded Medicaid.

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