by David Ramsey
After weeks of discussion following the "private option" announcement, the legislature finally has an actual bill to debate.
The bill's co-sponsors include many key Republicans, but sponsorship doesn't mean definitive endorsement. Rep. Bruce Westerman said he is not necessarily going to support it. "The potential enabling legislation is now available for debate," he said. "Since I was partly responsible for developing this, I feel I should remain engaged in the process. There could be additional amendments and I can amend my name off the bill if needed. We're working through the process."
Another co-sponsor, Rep. John Burris, said, "There's going to be changes and input. Speaking for me, it means we might have a plan that accomplishes our goal: [a] conservative, market-based, consumer-friendly healthcare system." Sen. David Sanders was also relatively optimistic, saying that they were "making progress" toward getting the policy right.
Meanwhile, co-sponsor Sen. Jonathan Dismang joined House Speaker Davy Carter and Senate President Pro Tem Michael Lamoureux in definitively endorsing the bill.
Matt DeCample, spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe, said the governor was "on board with the language in the bill."
p.s. and while we're on the topic, here's a little Medicaid expansion humor from Stephen Colbert.