French Hill Criticized in GOP Debate Over Donation

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press  on Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014 4:44 pm  

J. French Hill

Reynolds said the loan reflects his commitment to his campaign.

Hill and Reynolds also criticized Clemmer's vote last year for the funding measure for the state's compromise Medicaid expansion. Clemmer voted this year against reauthorizing the "private option," which uses federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for the poor.

"One of my opponents supported to expand the newest (entitlement program) in the country, which is Obamacare, here in Arkansas," Hill said, without specifically naming Clemmer.

Reynolds also cited that vote: "You can't say I'm against the private option, and then vote for it."

Clemmer said her vote wasn't for the program itself and noted that other programs were included in the measure.

"There were different factors going in. We had time to change the budget, and that's why I voted no several times this past session," she said.

The private option also factored into the debate between state Rep. Bruce Westerman and Tommy Moll, who are seeking the GOP nomination for south Arkansas' 4th District. Former Federal Emergency Management Agency Director James Lee Witt is the only Democrat running for that office.

Moll criticized Westerman for initially co-sponsoring the private option legislation last year. Westerman later pulled his name from the legislation and voted against it. This year, he led the unsuccessful push to halt the program.

"I think the biggest difference between us is I don't see any version of Obamacare that's right for Arkansas," Moll said.

Westerman defended his record as an opponent of the private option. His campaign later released a letter from 19 GOP legislators touting him as a consistent opponent of the compromise Medicaid expansion plan.

"The difference is I understand what happened with Obamacare in Arkansas and Tommy apparently doesn't understand it," Westerman said.

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