Arkansas Business headlines Feb. 1

    8:16 AM, Feb 1, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- Stocks continued to fall Thursday, but still ended January on a high note.

    Still, Wall Street celebrating the fastest start to a new year this century.

    The Dow ended January up 5.8 percent -- its strongest rise since 1994. The S&P also doing well, up five percent with its best start since 1997.

    At the Legislature yesterday, an update on the projected Medicaid shortfall -- now not as severe as the Beebe administration once thought.

    Arkansas Medicaid officials saying they're no longer proposing cuts to nursing home care and three other areas after lowering the projected shortfall the program faces next year to $61 million.

    The Department of Human Services last year detailed $138 million in cuts Medicaid faced in the budget that begins July 1 because of a deficit.

    But yesterday they lowered that estimate after the program's costs came in $21 million under budget for the first half of the current fiscal year.

    DHS said Medicaid's growth is the lowest it's been in 25 years, and credited much of the savings to the state's efforts to change the way Medicaid pays for services from a fee-for-service model to one where it pays for "episodes" of care.

    Also: A pair of controversial bills getting approval in legislative committees.

    A bill that would become the tightest abortion law in the nation passed the Senate by a 26-8 margin.

    The measure says that if a fetal heartbeat is detected in a required test, an abortion could not be performed except in cases of rape, incest or if a mother's life is in danger.

    The bill now moves to a House committee.

    And a House panel advanced legislation that would permit people with a concealed-carry permit to carry their handguns into any church that gives permission.

    Arkansas is only one of 10 states that currently forbids guns in houses of worship.

    And finally, another knowledge-based technology business coming to Conway.

    Inuvo Inc. announced it will move its corporate headquarters from New York to Conway.

    The Internet marketing and technology company expects to create 50 new jobs over the next four years at its new headquarters in the city's downtown.

    The company develops consumer applications to make Internet usage easier and delivers targeted online advertising.

    Inuvo is led by former Acxiom Corp. executive Richard Howe.

    (Source: Arkansas Business)

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