Benji Hardy | Arkansas news, politics, opinion, restaurants, music, movies and art

Benji Hardy 
Member since Nov 15, 2012

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  • No, there is a not a "bailout" for the Arkansas private option

    Apparently if you call something a “bailout,” people won’t like it! This is the approach taken in a piece on the private option posted earlier last week at Forbes, the third article Forbes has published in the last month or so criticizing the Arkansas plan. We take a look at some of their insinuations, and where things actually stand on the policy and politics of the private option.
    • May 19, 2014
  • Does Dustin McDaniel have duty to defend ban on same-sex marriage?

    Early this week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had a message for folks in Dustin McDaniel's position. Holder called on the nation's state attorneys general to consider taking up the cause of marriage equality by refusing to defend their states' laws that block same-sex couples from access to marriage.
    • Feb 27, 2014
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Recent Comments

Re: “Arkansas Senate passes bill to let DACA students access in-state tuition rates

American citizens from Arkansas already qualify for in-state tuition rates.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Benji Hardy on 04/05/2019 at 3:57 PM

Re: “Over 18,000 lost coverage in 2018 due to Medicaid work rule, but only fraction have reapplied

Yes, people can still sign up for Arkansas Works (Medicaid expansion coverage) now.

The open enrollment period for Arkansas Works is year-round. Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria (income<138% federal poverty line, age 19-64, Arkansas resident, not incarcerated) can enroll at any time.

Just for the sake of clarity: The individual marketplace (aka, "the exchange") DOES have a limited open enrollment period. I believe it ended Dec. 15. So, most people with incomes above the 138 percent FPL threshold have missed the window to buy insurance, though there's an important caveat. If you've changed jobs, lost other insurance or experienced certain other life events, you may qualify for a "special enrollment" period which would allow you to buy a plan on the individual marketplace.

It's confusing stuff.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Benji Hardy on 01/16/2019 at 9:35 AM

Re: “Arkansas DHS to step up outreach on Medicaid work requirement and allow reporting by phone

@Vanessa and wannabee conservative

I had the same question about why the website goes down for 10 hours a night. Apparently, it's because Access Arkansas is used for much more than reporting work hours. It's used by beneficiaries and DHS county offices to do all sorts of other things, too. That includes submitting new applications and other paperwork, along with various casework (much of which is related to other DHS functions outside of Medicaid). I was told the system needs to do "batch processing" every night to handle all this information (presumably it's transferred to DHS central?) Whether that's a reasonable amount of time to perform such a function, I can't answer.

In any case, the point is that the state didn't build a new, standalone website for reporting work hours. It just built the work hour reporting system onto an existing system (Access Arkansas), and therefore the reporting system inherited all the existing system's flaws.

10 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Benji Hardy on 12/12/2018 at 4:15 PM

Re: “Setting the record straight on Baker Kurrus and local control of Little Rock schools

Interesting! I didn't know I was a Kurrus supporter. Thanks for letting me know!

22 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Benji Hardy on 11/28/2018 at 5:04 PM

Re: “Locked out of Medicaid

@Timothy Dawson -- I'd love to talk to you about your experience with reporting. Can we get in touch? Email me at benji.hardy(at) or find me on Facebook.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Benji Hardy on 11/20/2018 at 4:34 PM

Re: “Work requirement bars over 4,000 from receiving Medicaid coverage

1) is the correct address. This story was produced by the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network, which distributes it (for free) to the Arkansas Times, the Baxter Bulletin and any other paper in the state that wants it.
2) Fair point, but I think that's why the governor says "taxpayers" rather than "Arkansans."
3) Thank you, that's good to know.
4) Yes, I agree with you about the importance of drawing that distinction, and I wish I'd done so. It's true that far more than 1/6 of that initial 27,000 didn't report anything due to exemptions, many of which were automatic. I've pointed that out in the past, and I'll be more careful about that phrasing in the future.

Posted by Benji Hardy on 09/20/2018 at 2:10 PM

Re: “A glimmer of hope for return of local control of Little Rock School District

@Going for the record (or anyone): How will local control be able to stop the increase in charters? Charter approval is a state decision.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Benji Hardy on 09/14/2018 at 9:01 AM

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