by Max Brantley
HB 2138, the bill to set up state insurance exchanges under the federal health reform law, failed to clear committee Friday morning. The vote was 10-7, with 11 needed for approval. Could be another try next week.
Jason Tolbert reports that Democrat Rep. Keith Ingram was in the room, but did not vote. What's he trading for? That special language raid on the land commissioner's money for his local community college, maybe?
My further information is that another vote is up in the air. There's a great urge to get this session over before there's more mischief in other areas. If it dies at this point, the spin is simple and was articulated in questioning today by Rep. Barry Hyde: Republicans have voted to let the Obama administration oversee health exchanges in Arkansas rather than local officials. Welcome to Obamacare.
Roll call on the jump. Note that Republican Rep. Jon Woods, who'd argued for the bill's passage and who some believe was heard to vote aye on the voice vote, did not want a recorded vote for the measure. He voted no.
PRESENT BUT NOT VOTING (1)