Steve Brawner / Talk Business & Politics

Steve Brawner is a freelance journalist and contributor to Talk Business & Politics.

He is also a syndicated columnist in 10 Arkansas newspapers.

You can email him at brawnersteve@mac.com or follow him on Twitter: @SteveBrawner.

Health care consumers who purchased their insurance through an exchange are less satisfied with their coverage but were more cost-conscious when considering their plans.

Insurance exchanges are online marketplaces for purchasing health insurance that conforms with the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The Arkansas Research Alliance, a coalition of five research universities partnering with state businesses, announced today two $500,000 awards given over three years to a Chinese scientist specializing in energy storage and a Danish engineer focused on experimental cardiovascular surgery.

CHI St. Vincent and Conway Regional Health System have signed a five-year management agreement and created the Arkansas Health Alliance, a new corporate entity for independent hospitals to affiliate with CHI St. Vincent, the two health care providers announced Tuesday.

According to a news release, the agreement, effective Aug. 17, represents a partnership, not an acquisition, and the two health systems will retain their names, governance and autonomy. Matt Troup, CHI St. Vincent vice president of ancillary and support services, will become CEO of Conway Regional.

The nuclear deal with Iran doesn’t fulfill its objectives, so the United States should continue to enforce sanctions, even if it does so without the support of the United Nations, U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., said Monday.

The state has saved $2.5 million in salaries during the last half of the state’s fiscal year from January 13 to June 30 as a result of a hiring freeze instituted by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, his office announced Tuesday.

Hutchinson’s office said the freeze has resulted in the state having 297 fewer state employees. Positions were frozen an average of 59 days, meaning Hutchinson’s office is reviewing all open positions. His office said 433 freeze requests are pending.

Hutchinson said his first act as governor was to institute the hiring freeze.

The number of enrollees in Arkansas’ private option shrunk by about 26,500 at midnight July 31 because those former beneficiaries did not respond to requests by the Department of Human Services for information about changes to their incomes.

According to Amy Webb, DHS spokesperson, the estimate is based on information provided to insurance carriers July 21. The information was provided to the carriers so they could try to contact their private option beneficiaries to encourage them to respond to the requests, and so they could be certain not to pay claims after July 31.

Web surfers who type in www.asahutchinson.com will be redirected to an LGBT chatroom by an Arkansan who says he’ll use the domain name in the next election to discuss Hutchinson’s record on gay rights.

The Walmart visitors center in downtown Bentonville.
bentonville.org

The Walton Family Foundation is developing what it is calling an “independent” school in Bentonville for the Northwest Arkansas region, the foundation announced in a press release Thursday.

The release said the school “will also offer a challenging curriculum, small classes, a diverse student body and distinctive architecture.”

Arkansas is one of only a few states that does not have its own dental school. That could change in a few years, as UAMS is exploring that option. But it’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to be cheap.

“If everything went as quickly as it could go, I would say it’s at least three years from now until a student would actually enroll,” said Dr. Dan Rahn, UAMS chancellor.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, will be the next Republican presidential candidate to visit Arkansas. The Texas senator will appear August 12 at the Crawford County Lincoln Day Dinner.

The news was confirmed at the Reagan-Rockefeller Dinner Friday in Hot Springs following the appearance there by businessman Donald Trump. Trump drew a crowd of 1,000 Republicans to hear him proclaim himself the best candidate for the job because of his deal-making ability and because he won’t accept outside campaign donations.

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