“There Is A Lot Wrong” With This Forbes Article, But Legislators Are Too Busy To Explain

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Yesterday, Forbes published an insightful piece about the Arkansas Obamacare “private” option. The bottom line for Arkansas taxpayers: for the second month in a row, the “private” option costs are well above projections and above the federal cap. The Forbes article (authored by Josh Archambault and Jonathan Ingram of the Foundation for Government Accountability) outlines what could happen if “private” option costs continue to climb: ...under terms of the waiver signed by Governor Beebe and … [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...]

Carter: If You Won’t Do What I Want, “That’s Just Not Reasonable Whatsoever”

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Lots of Arkansas legislators have strong feelings about the “private” option: tempers on the House floor have been running high. Several disagreements last week were over “vote pairing” – which is an agreement two House members can reach if they disagree on a bill. Legislators agree to pair their opposite votes if (for instance) one of them can’t be in the chamber at voting time; this allows both votes to be cast and recorded, even if both legislators aren’t present. Vote pairing can work well … [Read more...]

Three Stories You Need To Read Today

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Happy Monday. With another vote on Obamacare “private” option funding as scheduled for tomorrow in the Arkansas House, we’ve compiled a few stories that you need to read. 1. CFA’s David Ferguson, in a new memo, dismisses two false arguments that are floating around the capitol: There is a notion going around that during a Fiscal Session an appropriation bill cannot include non-appropriation sections. A recent blog post even insinuated that special language concerning the Private Option might … [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...]

What On Earth Is Nate Bell Thinking?

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Many observers of the “private” option’s passage through the legislative process were taken aback by Rep. Nate Bell’s amendment earlier this week. Bell has explained that his goal is to end the “private” option, and he believes that his amendment (which appears to make House “private”-option passage more likely) is the best route to achieve this goal. I found this puzzling, so I called him up for a further explanation. Following are my paraphrased questions and his italicized answers; I also … [Read more...]

Employer Mandate Delayed, Again, As Predicted

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Mere hours ago, while discussing the Obamacare “private” option, House Speaker Davy Carter told the media: Nothing's changed materially from what we've said was going to happen back in the General Session. I guess Speaker Carter hasn’t been paying attention to the constant Obamacare changes coming out of Washington D.C. over the last year. Specifically, the “material changes” that have taken place include 1. The two-year delay of impending DSH cuts last month and 2. The delay of the employer … [Read more...]

Should Arkansas Continue A Ridiculously Expensive Program To ‘Save’ Businesses From A Mandate That Doesn’t Exist?

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In his radio address last week, Governor Mike Beebe said, Last year, the Legislature approved the private option for good reasons. The only thing that has changed since then is that we have better information, stronger assurances from the federal government, and tens of thousands of Arkansans who now have insurance coverage. Beebe’s suggestion that these are “the only things that have changed” suggests something less than a firm grip on reality. I guess Governor Beebe was napping when … [Read more...]