by Max Brantley
I'm awaiting a further report from David Ramsey at the Capitol, but the vote on the Medicaid expansion appropriation will be put off until Monday. Legislators will get a weekend to talk to constituents. Statement from House Speaker Davy Carter:
“After numerous conversations with members and careful consideration, House leadership has decided it is in the best interest of the state of Arkansas for the House to wait until Monday to vote on HB1219, which is the appropriation measure containing the Arkansas Private Option.
The health care debate in this country over the past many years has been intense, and arguably been the basis of every contested election across the country in recent memory.
The Supreme Court of the United States has issued its opinion, and the cold hard fact is that Arkansas is left with two choices, and neither choice can stop the implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act.
Indeed, the vast majority of the members of the Arkansas House of Representatives realize that the Private Option is the best choice. Having the vote on Monday will allow members time to return home to the 30,000 Arkansans they serve to discuss their decision. “
RELATED: I hope some legislators find time to talk this weekend to people without health insurance who'd be brought under the umbrella of market-based private insurance, some 250,000 of them, if this legislation is adopted.
The UAMS College of Public Health has just completed a project talking to real people about living without insurance. I'd also recommend that legislators give "Voices of the Uninsured" a read. Arkansas Community Organizations helped find people to be interviewed and, in announcing completion of the report, included this quote:
"The voices of people who do not have health coverage are rarely heard in the debates over the private option and Medicaid," said Maxine Nelson, retired registered nurse and Watson Chapel school board member from Pine Bluff. "We want to commend those people who were willing to speak up and tell a very important story that policy makers should consider in their deliberations over the next few days."