Arkansas Healthcare

Arkansas lawmakers have endorsed an agency's plan to collect a 3 percent fee on plans offered through the state's health insurance exchange.

The Arkansas Health Insurance Market Place Legislative Oversight Committee on Wednesday backed the marketplace board's plan to begin collecting the fee in December. The 3 percent fee would replace a 3.5 percent fee that has been collected by the federal government since enrollment in the exchanges began two years ago.

(file photo) Family Council Action Committee Director Jerry Cox at his office.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

One of the key opposition groups that helped narrowly defeat a medical marijuana measure in 2012 is gearing up to do the same this fall. The Family Council Action Committee outlined its arguments and announced its intention to launch an active campaign at the state Capitol on Thursday.

Family Council’s director Jerry Cox laid forth the crux of his argument against the two medical marijuana ballot measures, “These measures are simply recreational marijuana masquerading as medicine.”

Arkansas' highest court will hear arguments next month in one of two complaints against a proposed ballot measure to limit damages awarded in medical lawsuits.

The head of Medicaid under former President George W. Bush will join the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences as a visiting professor and as an adviser for Medicaid and Health Care Reform for the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

UAMS said Friday that Dennis Smith will start the positions on Sept. 15.

UAMS said Smith will spend 10 percent of his time as a visiting professor at the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health and the remainder as an adviser on Medicaid policy and operations for DHS.

 Arkansas election officials have approved a second measure legalizing medical marijuana for the November ballot.

Secretary of State Mark Martin's office on Wednesday verified supporters of the proposed constitutional amendment legalizing the drug for some patients because they turned in more than enough signatures to qualify. Backers of the proposal turned in 97,284 signatures from registered voters, more than the 84,859 needed to earn a spot on the ballot.

Former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders and Arkansas Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansans very well may have two medical marijuana ballot measures to vote on in November, with the battle firmly immersed in both political and scientific debates. 

medical money medicine
Talk Business & Politics

A group opposed to a ballot proposal that would place limits on damages in medical lawsuits is asking Arkansas' highest court to block voting on the proposed constitutional amendment in November.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

State and public school employees will make bigger contributions for their health insurance in 2017, but the big increases are coming in later years, legislators were told Wednesday.

At a State & Public School Life & Health Insurance Task Force meeting, John Colberg with the independent actuarial firm Cheiron told legislators that public school employees and retirees will see a 2% increase in 2017, while state employees and retirees will see a 3% increase.

marijuana
npr.org

A group opposing efforts to legalize medical marijuana has asked Arkansas' highest court to block a legalization proposal from appearing on the November ballot.

Attorneys for Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana on Wednesday asked the state Supreme Court to block the proposed initiated act, which would allow people with certain medical conditions to buy the drug. The secretary of state's office last month verified the measure had enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

The lawsuit claims the wording of the proposal is misleading and omits key information.

Bart Hester
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The number of private option recipients whose insurance premiums are being paid by the program reached 258,161 in July, up 55,000 more than in January.

The number was 213,026 in January. In June, 250,885 were on the program, according to a letter and information sent to Gov. Asa Hutchinson by Department of Human Services director Cindy Gillespie Aug. 17.

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