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Keep An Eye on This Health Insurance Exchange Meeting With Arkansas Lawmakers

Monday! This morning all the world awaited the news as to whether former University of Central Arkansas president Lu Hardin would be stoned in the town square or merely executed by firing squad for his crimes against humanity (he ended up with probation).

Now that that’s over, keep your eye on this (more consequential) matter: At a legislative hearing today (opens as PDF), state insurance commissioner Jay Bradford will make the case for requesting more federal money to set up a state level health insurance exchange.

As you know, a central tenet of the Obamacare law passed in 2010 is that all states are required to set up online health insurance exchanges. Two weeks ago, Bradford asked lawmakers to give his team the OK to move forward with an application for a planning grant from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

Some legislators are grumbling at the lack of specifics (Bradford presented no budget for how the money would be spent, rankling House Minority Leader John Burris) and the short time frame (the grant application is due by Sept. 30).

Dan Greenberg at the Advance Arkansas Institute has just released a new paper analyzing the status of state health insurance exchanges that should be a must read for policymakers grappling with the issue. He poses some pertinent questions and urges legislators to step carefully before taking on any additional commitments related to setting up the exchange in Arkansas. Do go and check it out! (Opens as PDF)

Specifics on the 1:30 p.m. legislative hearing are here.

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