Arkansas Senators Prep Healthcare Vote, 2018 Challengers & Demonstrators Oppose

Jul 25, 2017

Independent 2nd District Congressional candidate Natasha Burch Hulsey demonstrating outside of U.S. Senator John Boozman's Washington D.C. resident in advance of a healthcare vote.
Credit Twitter

Arkansas's U.S. Senators are poised to vote Tuesday afternoon to begin taking up some type of healthcare repeal, possibly the House backed plan to repeal and replace much of the Affordable Care Act. While U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton have been generally low key about the healthcare effort opponents have been notably vocal.

Arkansas demonstrators, of which more than 20 have been arrested so far, along with Congressional challengers have been active throughout the largely closed door legislative process.

Independent candidate Natasha Burch Hulsey was among a roving tour of protestors visiting the Washington D.C. homes of U.S. Senators. John Boozman's residence in the nation's Capitol was among the stops Tuesday morning.

Hulsey is running to represent central Arkansas's 2nd District in the U.S. House. She previously told KUAR she believes in changing the ACA but working within its existing framework. Republican incumbent French Hill is seeking re-election. He and the state's other three U.S. Representatives voted with the Republican majority to pass the House version of repeal and replace. 

KUAR will have more on 2nd District Democratic candidate Paul Spencer and U.S. Rep. Hill this afternoon.

In the 3rd District, U.S. Representative Steve Womack (R-Rogers) has both a Republican and Democratic challenger decrying his support for the repeal effort. Republican Rob Ryerse has said he supports a 'Medicare for a All' styled system where Americans are guaranteed government-backed health insurance coverage. Democratic candidate Joshua Mahoney has expressed support for that as well as a "public option" plan that would compete alongside private plans.

Mahoney says his plan to achieve universal coverage is a bit "open-ended" this early in the campaign but at the present  Arkansas's Congressman need to at least open up dialog about healthcare fixes.

"The good side of this debate is that we've had people going to Washington and taking a stand for their neighbors. They're fighting to save people's lives and I admire that," says Mahoney. "What I don't appreciate about this is cutting people out the discussion and the fact that we've had to force ourselves up there to make ourselves heard."

Check out the latest healthcare polling from Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College.

Rep. Womack's office said the Congressman was not available for an interview regarding the subject this week. Neither Senator Cotton or Boozman's office responded to a request for comment.