Arkansas Healthcare

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Dozens of parents and children rallied against proposed cuts to the federal budget in Little Rock Wednesday, saying they would severely impact Medicaid services in Arkansas. Arkansas Community Organizations hosted the “Children for Healthcare” Day of Action across from Stephens Elementary School, where kids wrote symbolic postcards addressed to U.S. Rep. French Hill.

Gwendolynn Millen Combs teaches at Stephens Elementary. She’s also an Air Force veteran, and a Democratic hopeful for Hill’s seat in the House.

The latest numbers from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show Arkansas had the second-highest opioid prescribing rate in the nation in 2016, after Alabama. There are enough painkiller prescriptions being filled for every Arkansan to have a bottle.

The rates reflect the number of initial and refill prescriptions dispensed per 100 people at retail (non-hospital) pharmacies, which represent 88% of prescriptions in the United States. For Arkansas, the rate is 114.6.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R) at Little Rock's VA Hospital
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

U.S. Senator John Boozman is recovering from a successful follow-up procedure to a 2014 heart surgery. Boozman's office says he'll be back to work when the Senate reconvenes in September.

The 66-year-old underwent the procedure at a Washington D.C. area hospital on Tuesday. Boozman staff say it was "recommended by doctors who have been monitoring his aorta since a tear in it was surgically repaired in 2014."

U.S. Senator John Boozman in the Republican Party of Arkansas headquarters.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

U.S. Senator John Boozman, R-Ark., has scheduled a follow-up surgical procedure next Tuesday (Aug. 15) that’s related to an emergency heart surgery he underwent a little more than three years ago.

Boozman, Arkansas’ senior senator, had surgery April 22, 2014, to fix an aortic dissection. The procedure was performed at Mercy Hospital in Rogers. The medical staff at the time said the surgery went as planned.

CDC, National Vital Statistics System

The politics of public health will be at play as Arkansas moves forward with studying pregnancy-related deaths.

Arkansas has the third-highest rate of women who die during pregnancy or delivery, according to the United Health Foundation. This has prompted a study into the matter.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Karen Tricot Steward / KUAR News

After being called to the White House earlier this week to discuss healthcare, Governor Asa Hutchinson says the Trump administration appears to be reaching out in a broader way for input on the future of the nation's healthcare system.

"There's going to be a slower and more thoughtful process coming up. What we saw in the Senate last week was a bill that did not go through the committee process and did not have hearings. It was limited and it failed to pass. And so now I hope that you will see... broad coalitions come together," Hutchinson tells KUAR News.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says a meeting in Washington with other governors and Trump administration officials to discuss the health care overhaul was productive and that he's encouraged there's a commitment to include him and leaders from other states to find solutions to concerns with the law.

Hutchinson's office said the Republican governor traveled to Washington on Monday morning for the White House meeting to discuss options for improving the health care system. Hutchinson spokesman J.R. Davis said the governor will return to the state Tuesday.

Willie Freeman says he used to avoid smiling, and if he did, it was in a way almost no one could see, with his mouth closed. He was embarrassed of his rotten teeth.

“I wouldn’t go around people and if I did smile, you know, nobody would see me smile,” said Freeman. “My teeth was so messed up, you know, I had gaps everywhere,” he said sitting in an office at Little Rock’s low-income, non-profit Harmony Health Clinic, waiting for an appointment.

A decisive early Friday vote on a GOP-led Obamacare "skinny" repeal comes up short. Why Arkansas's Senators voted for the failed measure amidst evidence that state public opinion may not be quite on their side.

Both of Arkansas’s U.S. Senators - Tom Cotton and John Boozman – joined a failed effort in the early morning hours, around 1:30 a.m. Washington D.C. time, to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act. While three Republicans (Linda Murkowski-AL, Susan Collins-ME, John McCain-AZ) voted with Democrats to defeat the proposal, Cotton and Boozman joined with the majority of their party. The vote was 51-49.

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