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 … [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...]

Survey Says: 66% Of Arkansas Republicans Oppose “Private” Option

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Our good friends over at Conduit For Action have released a new poll on the Obamacare “private” option. The poll was conducted last week, sampling 400 likely Republican primary voters, with a margin of error of 4.9%. According to their findings, 66% of Arkansas Republicans oppose the “Republican plan” for expanding Medicaid (a.k.a. the “private” option). Republicans who had an opinion on the "private" option opposed it by three to one. In addition, given five choices regarding the most … [Read more...]

House GOP To Speaker Carter: We Need To Talk

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27 House Republican legislators have signed and delivered a letter to Speaker Davy Carter that says, quite simply: it’s time to negotiate a way forward on the Medicaid budget. Last week, the House voted four times on passage of the DHS/Medicaid budget (which includes funding for the Obamacare “private” option). The bill failed all four times. The letter was presented to Speaker Carter today. You can read it here in its entirety. Here’s an excerpt: Dear Mr. Speaker, At your direction, … [Read more...]

The Definition of Insanity

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Albert Einstein famously said that insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Today, for the fourth day in a row, the Arkansas House failed to approve funding for the Obamacare "private" option. At this point, you must begin to wonder how many times Speaker Davy Carter will continue to call votes --  on the exact same bill -- and continue to fail to reach the necessary 75 vote threshold. Or, to put it another way: how long will Speaker Carter try to … [Read more...]

Live-Stream From The Senate

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At 11:00, the state senate will convene. They are expected to take up the Hendren-Ballinger plan. Watch the proceedings live here: Live streaming video by Ustream … [Read more...]

A Look At The Hendren-Ballinger Amendment

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The "private" option funding failed to pass the House again yesterday afternoon. To exaggerate only slightly, Speaker Davy Carter has vowed to keep on re-voting the bill until the House gets it right. Is there any way out? Perhaps so. Yesterday at noon, roughly 20 legislators coalesced in the Capitol’s Old Supreme Court Room to supply a compromise alternative to the “private” option funding bill. (See video of the press conference here.) It’s been said that a good compromise leaves everyone … [Read more...]

Separation Anxiety: Can “Private” Option Funding Be Split From The Medicaid Budget?

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Yesterday on KARN, while discussing “private” option strategy, I argued that PO opponents should separate the vote for PO funding from the vote for funding the larger DHS budget. Americans For Prosperity-Arkansas Director Jason Cline took issue with me, asking “Have you read the BLR opinion on that?” According to Cline, the legislature’s Bureau of Legislative Research (BLR) recently opined that the vote on the PO funding cannot be separated from the vote on DHS’s Medicaid budget. This came as a … [Read more...]