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Election recommendations

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The Arkansas Times has made these endorsements in the primary elections Tuesday, May 23. Early voting is already under way.

Arkansas Supreme Court, position 2: JUSTICE DONALD L. CORBIN. (Nonpartisan election.)

House of Representatives District 31: DAN GREENBERG. (Republican primary.)

House District 33: FRED ALLEN. (Democratic primary.)

House District 37: KATHY WEBB, JERRY LARKOWSKI, JORDAN JOHNSON, JESSE GIBSON. (Democratic primary.)

Pulaski County sheriff: DOC HOLLADAY. (Democratic primary.)

Pulaski County justice of the peace District 10: WILLIAM “BILLY” GINOCCHIO. (Democratic primary.)



Insurance scam stopped

Cheers for Democrats in the United States Senate, Arkansas’s Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor among them, who have blocked a Bush administration health insurance bill that would produce higher profits for insurance companies and less protection for consumers.

The bill in question (S 1955) allegedly would encourage small businesses to offer health-care insurance to their employees. In reality, it would encourage small business to offer only skimpy and expensive health-care coverage to many of their employees, and to avoid hiring the older and sicker workers who need insurance most. “Insure only the people who don’t need insuring” is an old insurance industry ploy.

S 1955 would exempt the new health insurance plans from the states’ consumer protection laws, such as those requiring insurers to provide coverage for mammograms, diabetic supplies, emergency care and mental health services. Accordingly, the bill has aroused the opposition of AARP, the American Cancer Society, the National Diabetes Association and other organizations concerned with health care. A number of state insurance commissioners have come out against the bill also, including Arkansas’s Julie Benafield Bowman, a Republican appointee of Gov. Mike Huckabee. Standing up for states’ rights, Bowman wrote Senator Lincoln that “the decision of whether to impose in a health plan a particular mandate should be left with state officials who are more aware of the concerns of the insureds in that state.”

Lincoln is a leading supporter of a sounder plan to help small businesses provide health insurance to their employees. Like S 1955, it would allow small businesses to band together to buy health insurance. Unlike S 1955, it would not deny coverage for vital preventive services such as cervical cancer screenings and colorectal examinations. If Bush is serious about protecting Americans’ health, he’ll get behind this one.


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