Arkansas Healthcare

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R).
CSIS

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton is in favor of a Republican plan for a straightforward repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. Both of Arkansas's Republican senators, Cotton and John Boozman, have long favored ending the Affordable Care Act, but neither has spoken publicly about the now-flopped repeal and replace plan.

More than a dozen Arkansans have been arrested so far this month demonstrating against attempts by Republicans to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act and that number stands to grow. On Monday at 5 p.m. about a dozen Arkansans are gathering in Little Rock to head to Washington D.C. in a bid to keep up the pressure.

The U.S. Senate was expected to hold a vote this week following a Congressional Budget Office score but both have been delayed. Arizona Senator John McCain is recovering from surgery.

Arkansas’s congressional delegation is returning to Washington D.C. following a July 4th recess and the state’s U.S. Senators are as tight lipped as ever about the GOP’s stalled bill to end much of the Affordable Care Act.

Does Senator Tom Cotton support the healthcare plan he helped draft with 12 other white male Republican Senators? Does Senator John Boozman support the plan backed by the majority of his party? These are basic questions Arkansans don’t have answers to.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas has asked the federal government to approve new limits the state wants on its hybrid Medicaid expansion that would move 60,000 people off the program and impose a work requirement on some participants.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday submitted the proposed changes to the program, which uses Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. The program was created in 2013 as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health overhaul.

marijuana
npr.org

Arkansans hoping to obtain medical marijuana can now apply for a patient card on the state Department of Health’s website. Prospective patients and caregivers can search through a page that includes instructions and resources detailing requirements for the application process. To apply online, patients and caregivers will need to have an email address, a written certification from their physician, a state-issued ID.  Applicants must pay a nonrefundable $50 fee.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson outlines changes he wants made to the Republican healthcare plan in the U.S. Senate.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

As Congress readies for the July recess, governors are among those trying to shape the stalled Senate healthcare bill. Arkansas’s Republican governor wants the state’s Republican  senators to make changes.

He isn’t offering a full rebuke – even saying the U.S. Senate is moving in the right direction - but Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the proposal poses a “big problem” for the state.

AACF Health Policy Director Marquita Little.
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families

The Congressional Budget Office’s scoring on the Senate Republican healthcare plan is out and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families concludes it'll do a great deal of harm to Arkansans. The CBO report finds 22 million people would lose insurance coverage, premiums would go up, and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax cuts would be given to the country’s wealthiest citizens – and that’s among many other changes.

U.S. Senate Republicans unveil their long-awaited bill to replace the Affordable Care Act. How will it affect Arkansans on the exchanges and the Medicaid rolls? Sen. Tom Cotton helped shape it with a select group in secret. Why has he been silent? Also, thoughts from other Republicans, Democrats and people in between.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

As Republicans in the U.S. Senate near completion of an initial bill that could vastly alter or replace Obamacare, a  group of demonstrators gathered outside the Victory Building in Little Rock. They delivered the offices of Republican Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman each about a thousand post cards from residents in the state. The cards, collected by activists with Arkansas Community Organizations and the group Health Care for America Now, ask the Senators to preserve Medicaid expansion and other benefits made available through federal health law. 

Talk Business & Politics

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., agrees with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that 50 votes for healthcare reform don’t presently exist in the U.S. Senate.

Talk Business and Politics reports.

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