Three Cheers — For More Government Dependency?

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Earlier this week, the state’s Department of Human Services released the latest enrollment numbers in the Medicaid “private” option expansion. So far, enrollments are way above forecasts: according to DHS, PO enrollment has now reached 155,567. Many supporters of the “private” option no doubt see this surge in enrollment as a good thing. After all, “It’s not costing Arkansas a dime!” For example, I was stunned to see this headline from THV yesterday: “Statewide enrollment numbers shows private … [Read more...]

Paragould Arrest Could Trigger “Test Case” For Act 746

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Mason Brannon of Paragould was arrested on March 1st for carrying a firearm without a concealed carry permit. Brannon’s arrest, and his pending prosecution, could serve as the first “test case” of Act 746, which became law last year. However, the trial won’t be a walk in the park for Prosecutor Scott Ellington -- because Act 746 imposes a new, and especially high, burden of proof on the state. Thanks to Act 746, possession of a firearm is no longer a crime in Arkansas. Under the act, which … [Read more...]

Feel That Breeze? It’s Senator Sample Spinning On The ‘Private’ Option

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Senator Bill Sample has found himself in a heated primary contest with challenger Jerry Neal. Sample’s support of the Obamacare “private” option has become central to the campaign debate. Neal says he is against it; Sample has voted for it repeatedly and still believes it’s the best path for Arkansas’s health care system. Recently, both candidates spoke before the Garland Good Government Group. During the Q&A period, Sample was asked about his support for the PO. After all, the questioner … [Read more...]

New ‘Private’ Option Revelations Spark Controversy

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This morning, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette revealed that the costs for the Obamacare “private” option for April have increased once again. Last week, Forbes reported that the total cost for the premiums for the month of March was $485.77 per person. This represents an 11% cost increase over the original projections. However, this figure included only the monthly premium costs, omitting costs for “wrap-around” services that are not covered by enrollees’ insurance plans. For the month of April, … [Read more...]

No Competition, Cost Overruns — Where Do We Go From Here On The ‘Private’ Option?

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You’ll probably find this hard to believe, but things aren’t going to so well with the Obamacare “private” option: just last week, my colleague Dan Greenberg wrote about the lack of competition in the program. Forbes had a national piece last week about the cost overruns of the program -- so far, after just a few short months, it’s currently 11% over original projections. In response to these developments, many lawmakers have been proactive in trying to figure out what’s driving the cost … [Read more...]

New Report Highlights Candidates’ Positions On Policy

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I know many of you have been relying on The Arkansas Project for news and analysis of the ongoing GOP legislative primaries around the state. While I’ve been conducting interviews with candidates, my colleague Dan Greenberg over at AAI has been helping to compile a comprehensive report that highlights where candidates stand on many more policy issues. (Well, at least it highlights where candidates are willing to say they stand.) This survey was conducted by Commerce In Action. They sent a … [Read more...]

Damon Wallace’s Degree Problem

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I’ve written in some detail about Damon Wallace’s financial troubles. Not only does this candidate for House District 96 have thousands in IRS debts, but he also failed to disclose some of the debts he owed to local governments in northwest Arkansas. (The worst-case scenario under Arkansas law is that this kind of error in disclosure could lead to fines and jail time.) Stunningly, Wallace explained some of his financial problems to Larry Henry of 5News by saying “I wasn’t trying to hide it. … [Read more...]

The Competition Vacuum in the “Private” Option

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You might recall that one of the selling points of the “private” option was market competition. Competition among insurance carriers was going to lower prices and improve the quality of services. Indeed, the actuaries who estimated the costs of the “private” option relied on the low prices that competition would create. Our insurance commissioner even explained that the high number of carriers that were participating – four! – was triggered by the “private” option. In reality, market … [Read more...]