What Just Happened?
It’s happened again. But how?
How did it happen that our first conservative Legislature in 138 years could not only create the idea of private option — but build shell bills, find sponsors, and lobby for passage of private option, all without us knowing their plans for Medicaid expansion until they were ready to pass it??
We got word on March 21 that “secret deals” were being cut between our conservative majority and Governor Beebe. The remarks went through the room like a tidal wave. A quick assessment revealed our legislators had offered no specifics about imminent implementation of private option.
But phone calls to legislators soon uncovered a full blown “solution” (private option) had already been crafted. All that was left to get it passed. The state Senate passed its enabling legislation on April 5 — only 2 weeks later — with the House following six days later on April 11.
We elected conservatives to carry our conservative message through at the Legislature. It would be a lie if they say they didn’t understand how important it is to us to be our conservative backstop.
What happened to accountability? to transparency? to the idea of vetting legislation with the taxpayers — before it’s too late for taxpayers to have input?
Why such a rush? Why did the Arkansas Senate meet “as a committee of the whole” to pass enabling legislation? What happened to moving legislation through committees, with adequate time to discuss and understand the details?
Can someone explain, please, how conservative principles were served by the manner in which this has been handled? What happened, indeed?