Compromise: A Time Line (Editorial)

Here's a date-by-date look at how Medicaid expansion perhaps came to Arkansas.

  • On June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court declares Obamacare constitutional.
  • In November, President Barack Obama is elected to his second term in office, and House Speaker John Boehner says that the Affordable Care Act is now the “law of the land” (though he says he still backs repeal).
  • On Jan. 1, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that Republican leaders in the Arkansas House are discussing calling a special session to address a major component of Obamacare, the expansion of Medicaid coverage to 250,000 Arkansans who have no health insurance. Speaker Davy Carter, however, says he’d prefer to decide on expansion during the regular session.
  • On Jan. 13, the D-G quotes Carter as saying, “If we can get through the budgeting process and make the right decision on Medicaid, and keep everybody out of the ditches, I will be pretty happy. I don’t know that we have to come in here and have big sweeping shifts in public policy every two years.”
  • In February, Gov. Mike Beebe gets verbal approval from the U.S. Health & Human Services Department to pursue a private health insurance exchange in place of Medicaid expansion.
  • April 2, Carter and Senate President Pro Tem Michael Lamoureux announce they’re backing the private option plan. “I think the members here have taken what arguably was a terrible hand of cards that has been dealt to us by the federal government, and they’ve taken the hand and turned it into what I think is something good for Arkansas, good for our citizens,” Carter says.
  • April 4, on Arkansas Business’ press day, Sen. Jonathan Dismang says the Senate will vote on the private option bill on Friday, April 5, after a meeting of the committee of the whole.
  • April 5, we’ll see, but we live, as ever, in hope.