Thursday, February 20, 2014

Senate passes private option for Medicaid expansion 27-8

Posted By on Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 11:32 AM

click to enlarge CALL THE ROLLS: Sen. Bruce Holland presides over the Senate
  • CALL THE ROLLS: Sen. Bruce Holland presides over the Senate
As expected, the Senate voted 27-8 to approve the budget which includes the appropriation for the private option for Medicaid expansion.

That gives the controversial program the needed supermajority in the Senate to fund it for another year. The private option will still need to be approved by supermajority in the House, which came up short twice earlier this week, and is set to vote again this afternoon. It's going to be close: Passage requires 75 votes and most believe the count in the House is between 74 and 76. Many believe that the House can pick up several votes from members allied with Rep. Terry Rice. Rice is challenging Sen. Bruce Holland, who voted for the private option; the rumor is that Rice's allies wanted to ensure that Holland took the tough vote. Rice will vote no and try to use the issue against Holland in the Republican primary. Rep. Mark Lowery is also thought to be a possible Aye vote. 

The key swing vote in the Senate was Sen. Jane English, who voted for the private option in return for a statewide workforce training initiative. English said she has been pushing reform on that front for a long time and saw an opportunity to light a fire under that issue. "I think we're going to do some really wonderful things in the state and change the we've been doing business for a very long time." English said she understood there would be some pushback from two-year colleges on the new initiative but "once people get the bigger picture, and how we do something better for all the citizens of the state of Arkansas, everybody's going to have a chance to get on board." 

Does she approve of the private option? "Not really," she said, "but sometimes you have to look at how do you do something bigger and better." English kinda sorta tied the two issues: "The bottom line is we've got so many people that qualify for these Medicaid programs and at some point you've got to change what you're doing so we can get people not have to be on these programs if they have good skills and good jobs so they can buy their own insurance."

One of the people pushing back against the English initiative is Rep. Tommy Thompson, a Democrat who did not vote yesterday on the private option because of his frustration with the English deal. Thompson is mad about a change in baseline funding for two-year colleges (they'd still have access to the same funds, but it would be a competitive process) — but the community college in Thompson's home of Morrilton is actually a leader in the workforce training that the English initiative would incentivize, so the school would almost certainly benefit on net.

Sen. Jonathan Dismang said that today's Senate vote would likely loosen up some votes in the House. "My understanding is that it does but I don't think there's any way for me to guarantee that, as someone who's not a member of the House. I think there was an inclination of some members that would like for us to be the ones to go first." 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

Readers also liked…

  • From Dallas, creative thinking about the Interstate 30 project

    An urban planner in Dallas says freeways are not always the answer. Incorporating some creativity already being used in Dallas and looking at the Interstate 30 project from a broader perspective, here are ideas that Arkansas highway planners have not considered. But should.
    • Nov 6, 2015
  • 'How to decimate a city' — a big freeway

    Reporting from around the U.S. continues to illustrate the folly of the Arkansas highway department and construction boosters like the chamber of commerce and Vice Mayor Lance Hines in advocating ever wider freeways through the heart of Little Rock. Syracuse, N.Y., is looking for a better way in a debate remarkably similar to the debate about widening Interstate 30 in Little Rock.
    • Nov 20, 2015
  • Ex-Hog Darrell Walker spotlighted for collection of work by black artists

    Former Razorback basketball player Darrell Walker and his art collection get a mention in today's New York Times in an article about the rising profiles and prices of black artists.
    • Nov 29, 2015

Most Shared

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.
  • Not justice

    The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
  • Judge Griffen writes about morality, Christian values and executions

    Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who blogs at Justice is a verb!, sends along a new post this morning.
  • The Ledell Lee execution thread

    Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.

Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Most Viewed

  • Lee's lawyer writes about executed man's last hours

    Lee Short, the lawyer for Ledell Lee, the man Arkansas put to death just before midnight last night, posted on Facebook the following letter of thanks for personal support and a bit about Lee's last hours, distributing his possessions and talking to family.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

Slideshows

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation