Our View: Hutchinson taking steps on Private Option future

We would think that even the most loyal supporters of Arkansas’ version of Obamacare that we refer to as the “Private Option” would have no problem with making recipients of this subsidized health care understand accountability and responsibility. But, there again, those individuals who are staunch supporters of the socialistic political agenda that propagates government dependency then it really doesn’t matter what logical, reasonable or responsible suggestions are proposed does it? Gov. Asa Hutchinson is committed to the idea that among the nearly quarter of a million Arkansans who are now enrolled in this government subsidized health care, and who can be taught a skill and are capable of securing a job that will insure independence, self pride and a sense of accomplishment should be required to take advantage of that opportunity. As many of us know, Hutchinson is now seeking approval of his multi-faceted overhaul of the state’s private option from U.S. Health Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell whose agency currently funds the government program. But, next year Arkansas taxpayers will be forced to pick up a portion of the costs, to the tune of between $50 to $60 million, and in preparation for that, Hutchinson is proposing a cost-savings plan that will encourage private option enrollees to stay employed and take more responsibility for their health care. Some of those noteworthy changes include providing subsidized coverage through employer plans to enrollees with job-based coverage, charging premiums to enrollees with incomes above the poverty level, requiring referrals to job-training programs for unemployed enrollees and curtailing coverage or charging more in premiums for enrollees with substantial assets. It is beyond our comprehension to understand how anyone, particularly the blow-hard liberal politicians and so-called political pundits can logically oppose the governor’s accountability plan. We’re not talking about the proposed idea of canning the entire Private Option as some staunch anti-Obama Republicans in Little Rock have suggested but rather simply revamping it to make recipients more accountable, as well as demonstrating good political stewardship. Now then, Hutchinson, some Republican heavy weights as well as some top-dog agency bureaucrats met with Burwell regarding these changes and we believe with a little tweaking these changes will be presented to lawmakers for a vote during a special session that the governor has said he plans to call in April. It has been mentioned, for some reason or another, that if Burwell does reject the governor’s plans that the state’s private option could very well be derailed. This would be a situation we don’t believe would be in the best interest of those Arkansans benefiting from this plan or anyone else. Again, accountability is the purpose of what this governor is attempting to instill in those Arkansans enjoying the free or subsidized government benefits.


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