BY STATE REPRESENTATIVE NATE BELL –
It appears increasingly likely that Governor Beebe will call the legislature into special session early next week to consider bills proposed by the legislative task force on public school employee insurance. The problems within PSE & ASE health insurance plans are complex and are the result of many years of mismanagement by EBD, “kicking the can” by the legislature and the overall effects of Obamacare on health insurance. The proposed bills are the result of several months of collaborative process by the bipartisan legislative task force. I have attended most of the task force meetings and I am confident that all proposed solutions have been carefully considered and that every available expert has been consulted in the pursuit of ideas that are sustainable and that reduce the long term costs to public school employees and taxpayers.
I want to be absolutely clear. This special session is NOT going to “fix” all of the problems with PSE health insurance. Health insurance costs are rising steeply for all Arkansans and the trend is likely to continue. At best, the changes proposed for this special session will make the plans a bit more fiscally stable and sustainable. There are many possible solutions that have merit and that need to be considered in the upcoming 2015 general session. I plan to file legislation that would implement some of the needed changes but many of the best long term ideas are simply not feasible for mid-fiscal year implementation nor are they possible to pass within the narrow context of a special session.
The proposed bills and a plain language summary are at the following links:
• Plain Language Summary http://natebell4ar.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Bill_Descriptions1.pdf
• Proposed Bill #1 http://natebell4ar.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/ANS2631.pdf
• Proposed Bill #2 http://natebell4ar.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/ANS2651.pdf
At this point, I’m inclined to support the task force recommendations but I’d appreciate input from constituents on each of the proposed bills. I’ll be asked to cast a YES or NO vote on each of the proposed bills early next week.
As your elected representative, do you want me to vote YES or NO on Bill #1 and Bill #2? You can share your opinions with me via email at email@example.com, via phone call or text message at 479-234-2092, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/natebell4Arkansas.
Your input is needed and appreciated.