State Senate Race Focuses on Medicaid Expansion

by Lance Turner  on Sunday, Jun. 8, 2014 10:57 am  

John Burris (Photo by Arkansas Times)

Another surrogate for Flippo's campaign has been Curtis Coleman, an opponent of the private option who lost the Republican gubernatorial primary last month. The only county Coleman won was Baxter, located in the state Senate district.

Flippo echoes the complaints other opponents of the program have made, saying the state won't be able to afford to afford the program once it eventually has to pay part of the cost and insisting that the state doesn't have as much control over the program as supporters say it does.

"We are beholden to a federal government that does nothing but deals in broken promises and spends money they don't have to begin with," Flippo said.

The push against the private option comes as the state and hospitals are pointing to signs that it is working, including a reported drop in the number of uninsured patients at many Arkansas hospitals. Burris has accused Flippo of misrepresenting the private option and ignoring the benefits to hospitals in the region.

Burris admits championing the program made him an easy target in the primary, but said he doesn't have any regrets about his position.

"It would be easy to be against the private option. I just don't think it's the right decision," Burris said. "And I want to be there to advocate for it and ask folks to make the hard choice but the right choice. That's what we're in office to do. The cheap seats are full."

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