Burris: not selling an expansion deal, special session may be needed | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Burris: not selling an expansion deal, special session may be needed

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 5:14 PM

John Burris image
  • Burris: I ain't no pitch-man

Rep. John Burris, chairman of the Public Health committee, began the committee meeting this morning by addressing members about Charlie Frago's D-G article this morning, which uses internal e-mails to paint an inside picture of some of the communication between Burris and administration officials about the new "private option" deal for expanding health care.

Burris said that there was “context lacking” in the article. His main beef was with the article's implication that Burris was pitching the deal (and working with the administration to do so). He pointed to one sentence in particular: "E-mails between Beebe administration officials and Burris show an evolving 'talking-point' plan in an apparent attempt to collect GOP votes."

He described that as an “unfair summary of the situation.” He said that he had policy questions about the new plan that led him to confer with state officials but was not yet endorsing anything. He added that he was not coordinating with state officials to sell an idea, and said he had never used language about "talking points" or a "deal." He printed and shared full copies of all the e-mail exchanges he had with DHS — four in total — with members. "Ain't nothing to hide," he said.

The new options provided by the feds, he said, gave lawmakers the opportunity to craft a "conservative, market-based, consumer-friendly healthcare system." He used that phrase around a dozen times, and said that if they were able to pull off such a plan, he thought they could get "broad, bipartisan support." He said that questions remain, details need to be hammered out, etc.

Burris said numerous times that he respected Frago and blamed himself for not calling Frago back last night. At one point Rep. Kim Hammer suggested that Frago himself testify before the committee. Frago demurred. Good times! (UPDATE: Charlie corrects me that in fact Rep. Reginald Murdock spoke up to say there was no need for him to testify — though I was sitting next to him and predict that demurral was coming!)

I've noted Burris's "Nixon to China" style cred on this issue with wary Republicans. Speaking with reporters after the meeting, Burris said, "I'm as conservative as just about anybody in this House, so I think if I'm comfortable with something — I'm not saying everybody will be, but in order for me to have a comfort level with it, it's going to be a plan that's..." Can you guess? Conservative! Market-based! Consumer-friendly! His other talking point (sorry!) is "revenue neutral or revenue saving" which is funny, because that describes the old Medicaid expansion plan. But times change, people see the light.

After the jump, Burris's thoughts on when we might see a resolution to the expansion question.

I really just don't know. The goal is not to drag it out. I would hope anybody would admit — we got this proposal last week, it's taken Andy [Allison], who's been working on this full time, a week and a half just to get some data. Pandora's box opened up. It's just a lot of questions. We're going to sort through it as quickly as we can.

I prefer good policy, whatever it takes to get that. We're not going to be penny-wise and pound foolish. It's silly to say the cost of the special session is too high. That's completely not even a serious argument. We're talking about billions and billions of dollars. The cost of a special session is thousands. That's not the goal. But we're going to get good policy. If that can happen this session it needs to happen this session, if it needs to happen in a special, it can happen in a special. But I'm not going to be rushed based on a 30-day timeline.

Tags: , , ,

Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments (22)

Showing 1-22 of 22

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-22 of 22

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

  • Authorities investigate accusation against Dean Elliott

    An accusation has been lodged against Dean Elliott, the Dillard's lobbyist and former state representative who is running for the District 15 seat in the state Senate, by a woman who claims that he was involved in a 2016 hit and run incident on Tennyson Drive in Conway that left her with severe injuries. Through a lawyer, Elliott says the allegation is false and politically motivated.
    • May 17, 2018
  • Rep. Jana Della Rosa disputes that Randell Shelton's Paradigm Consulting was a "bogus company"

    During the trial of former state Sen. Jon Woods and consultant Randell Shelton, the prosecution described Shelton's Paradigm Strategic Consulting as a "bogus company." But Rep. Jana Della Rosa, who paid Paradigm in 2014 for help with campaign messaging, said that Shelton did legitimate work for her.
    • May 16, 2018
  • A senator's vanity

    Spotted in Little Rock...
    • May 16, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas Supreme Court refuses to rehear invalidation of marijuana act

    The Arkansas Supreme Court today denied a request to rehear its decision invalidating Issue 7, the medical marijuana initiated act.
    • Nov 3, 2016
  • Arkansas legislature rejects bipartisan effort to study race relations

    On Friday, the Arkansas Legislative Council soundly rejected a bipartisan effort by two senators to to create a temporary legislative subcommittee to study race relations in the state.
    • Sep 15, 2017
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation