Health reform cometh | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Health reform cometh

Posted By on Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 6:36 AM

It's refreshing to see a state insurance regulator talk in calm terms about implementing federal health reform in Arkansas, particularly insurance pools for people who've had difficulty getting coverage.

[Dan] Honey, who began his career as a lawyer in the private insurance industry in the mid-1990s, recalled the emotion surrounding the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in 1997.

It required insurers to accept or reject an entire group of individuals for health insurance instead of picking and choosing individuals in that group for acceptance or rejection.

"We thought the sky was falling," he said. "... This stuff is not new. It's been done piecemeal on the state level for 15 years or more."

If constitutional challenges to the individual mandate, the federal requirement to have health insurance, are successful, they will make the cost of health insurance much more expensive, Honey said.

Republican legislators are, naturally, busy trying to gum up the works of health reform in Arkansas and play modern day George Wallaces by blocking help for needy Arkansans.

Speaking of Republicans making life more expensive for working people (tax work, not wealth, is their motto), I noticed the D-G today caught up with Ernest Dumas' reporting two weeks ago on legal maneuvers underway at the Supreme Court over the ruinous Republican proposed ballot initiative to institue a huge sales tax to replace much of Arkansas's current revenue sources. In case you missed it, it's worth a read still for Dumas' specific enumeration of the legal problems. This is one where the Arkansas Times is in solid agreement with the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.

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