LITTLE ROCK — The release of a report on a special audit of the state Medicaid program was postponed Friday.
The co-chairmen of the Legislative Joint Audit Committee had asked the Division of Legislative Audit to release the report Friday, a request that drew complaints from Gov. Mike Beebe’s office and the state Department of Human Services.
Spokespeople for Beebe and the agency said DHS had not been given enough time to respond to auditors’ findings. DHS also complained in a statement Wednesday that the report "uses sensational but rare examples and questionable methodologies to paint the program in the worst light."
Joint Audit Co-chairmen Sen. Bryan King, R-Green Forest, and Rep. Kim Hammer, R-Benton, said in a statement Friday, "The Division of Legislative Audit is still reviewing its draft report with the Department of Human Services; the division believes the department’s responses deserve careful review and evaluation. We support the legislative auditor’s thorough and professional approach, and so the Medicaid report will not be released today."
The governor’s office welcomed word that the report would not be released Friday.
"Positive, constructive discussions have been ongoing today between DHS and Legislative Audit staff," Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said in an email. "Without getting into detail, we believe that at least some of our concerns are being addressed. We will review the results when they are released and will work with DHS to address concerns raised by the auditors."
The audit comes during a session in which legislators are considering whether to expand the state Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Beebe favors expansion that officials say would make basic health insurance available to an additional 250,000 Arkansans, most of whom work but can’t afford coverage. Republicans in the Legislature have generally resisted any measures that would advance the federal health care law in the state.