Arkansas Healthcare

The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce for the first time is making independent expenditures in state legislative races. The expenditures are paying for mailers backing candidates who support Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s Medicaid expansion plan, Arkansas Works.

Chamber President and CEO Randy Zook said Thursday that the expenditures were being made in “a couple, three Senate races; a couple, three House races.” He said the expenditures were being made to “people who have been targeted by other groups for defeat because of that single vote.”

Arkansas Surgeon General Gregory Bledsoe speaking at the winter meeting of the County Judges Association of Arkansas.
Association of Arkansas Counties

The surgeon general of Arkansas made the case to the County Judges Association of Arkansas at its winter meeting that continuing Medicaid expansion will help free up state funds for other programs, such as the governor's highway plan.

The president of the association, Judge David Hudson of Sebastian County, said the group may take a position before the special session on Medicaid expansion expected in April. 

File photo: Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking to reporters at the Capitol about his budget proposal.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday that his main proposed changes to the private option remain intact after his recent discussions with federal Department of Health and Human Services Director Sylvia Burwell.

Also, he unveiled the state’s new brand direction for its economic development efforts: “Arkansas Inc. When you’re in Arkansas, you’re in good company.”

Hutchinson made the announcement at the 2016 Joint Winter Conference of the Arkansas Economic Developers and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce Executives.

Cindy Gillespie
C-SPAN

A former health care adviser to Mitt Romney has been named the new director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

Arkansans without health insurance have until the end of the month to apply for health insurance or face financial penalties.

Under the Affordable Care Act, those without coverage will be charged nearly $700 per adult, $300 per child, or 2.5 percent of the household's income if they don’t have coverage in 2016. According to the most recent 2014 Census Bureau statistics approximately 1 in 10, or nearly 300,000 Arkansans remain uninsured.

Bruce Donaldson with Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace said there are several reasons Arkansans remain uninsured.

Talk Business & Politics

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said his highway funding plan will work without raising taxes by finding government efficiencies and continuing with the state’s Medicaid expansion. Without those planks, Hutchinson says tax increases will enter the debate.

www.are.uscourts.gov

A federal judge has agreed to extend until March her order blocking Arkansas from enforcing new limits on the way the abortion pill is administered.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Monday granted the request by the state and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which is challenging the new limits. Baker had initially blocked the new law from taking effect until Jan. 14, and both sides had asked her to extend that order until March 14.

US Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) singing for the senate president pro temp to enroll an Affordable Care Act repeal bill into the Senate to be sent to the president's desk.
Cotton Press Office

US Senator Tom Cotton filled the ceremonial role of sending a bill repealing the Affordable Care Act to the president’s desk on Thursday. 

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he'd prefer one special session on the future of the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion and highway funding, but hasn't ruled out asking lawmakers to address the issues at separate times.

Hutchinson told reporters Wednesday he's meeting Feb. 1 with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell about his proposals to rename and add restrictions to the "private option." The program, crafted as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law, uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for the poor.

Governor Asa Hutchinson (left) and DHS Director John Selig presenting changes to Medicaid expansion in December.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

As expected the governor of Arkansas is asking federal officials to consider changes to the state's version of Medicaid expansion. 

Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson's office on Monday released a copy of the letter he sent to US Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announcing he's seeking a waiver for modifications. The letter was sent to Burwell December 29, 2015.

Pages