Health Reform Task Force Report Delivered, But Being Kept Under Wraps

A long-awaited health care reform report by a consultant hired by a state legislative task force has been delivered to the Bureau of Legislative Research, but it won’t be released publicly until next Wednesday (Oct. 7).

Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, the chairman of the Health Reform Legislative Task Force, said Thursday The Stephen Group delivered its report as expected on deadline day, Oct. 1. The Bureau of Legislative Research will produce hard copies of the report and open a room at the Capitol next Monday and Tuesday for legislative members to review it there.

The report will be released publicly at 10 a.m. Oct. 7, when the task force meets in Room A of the Multi-Agency Complex behind the Capitol. Members of The Stephen Group will present the report at that time. The report will be available online at the Legislature’s website, During that same meeting, the task force will consider a new contract with The Stephen Group.

The Health Reform Legislative Task Force has been meeting this year to consider changes to the state’s overall health care system, particularly the so-called “private option” that uses Medicaid dollars to purchase private insurance for Arkansans whose incomes are below 138% of the federal poverty line.

It was created in 2013. Gov. Asa Hutchinson asked legislators to fund the controversial private option through fiscal year 2016 at the same time the task force would be considering health care reforms. The task force will make its first report at the end of the year.