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It was a good week for health care in Arkansas 

It was a good week for ...

HEALTH CARE IN ARKANSAS. The federal government finally approved the state's "private option" to use Medicaid funding to purchase private insurance for low-income Arkansans. On Tuesday, the day the federal government shut down thanks to a moronic gambit by an extremist wing of the Republican Party to defund Obamacare (see below), enrollment in the new Obamacare marketplaces began in Arkansas and elsewhere.

JOSH HASTINGS. The second trial of the former Little Rock police officer who was charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Bobby Moore III ended just like the first — in a mistrial, after the jury reached a deadlock. According to one juror, the jury ultimately deadlocked 11-1 in favor of a not guilty verdict, after splitting 9-3 originally on the first day of deliberation. In the first trial, the jury reportedly hung 9-3 in favor of conviction.

SMART KIDS IN ARKANSAS. They're getting smarter, according to the state Education Department, which said that the percentage growth in both numbers and scores on Advanced Placement tests in Arkansas exceeded the national average for the class of 2012.

MIKE ROSS. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate secured the endorsement of 56 of the state's 75 county judges.

It was a bad week for ...

SPREADING THE WORD ABOUT OBAMACARE. A Tea Party insurrection carried an Arkansas Legislative Council vote in opposition to spending $4.5 million to advertise the availability of new insurance options under the Affordable Care Act, whether through the Medicaid expansion or health exchanges.

THE COUNTRY. The extortionist tactics of an extremist wing of Republicans in the U.S. House led the government to shut down on Tuesday, when the Times went to press. The extremists, including Reps. Tom Cotton and Tim Griffin, believe Congress should not fund a law of the United States that one branch of Congress doesn't like. Will the American people buy their spinning of that undemocratic principle? We're thinking this'll be a bridge too far.

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