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(Little Rock) (AP) – The incoming Arkansas House speaker says he hopes to avoid the “drama” that marked the debate over the state’s compromise Medicaid expansion in this year’s session when it comes up for another vote next year.

Speaking to the Political Animals Club on Friday, Rep. Jeremy Gillam of Judsonia said he hoped the House would not have another protracted fight over the plan to use Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for the poor. Lawmakers reauthorized the program during the fiscal session that formally adjourned this week, but the proposal was in jeopardy after four failed votes before the House.

Gillam was elected Wednesday to lead the House in next year’s session.

Gillam was on a panel of lawmakers discussing the private option’s reauthorization, and the future of the program.

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