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"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

The Declaration of Independence

Thursday
Apr182013

Five Arguments Against A State Insurance Exchange

Under the Affordable Care Act, Arkansas must either establish a state health insurance exchange or allow the federal government to do so: each exchange will accept and process citizen enrollment in health insurance plans. Two-thirds of the states have declined to establish state exchanges, thus leaving exchange creation to the federal government; given the 33-state rejection of health care exchanges, it is a bit of a mystery why HB1508 – which establishes a state exchange – passed the House and is on the Senate floor today. The Beebe administration has worked tirelessly to establish a state exchange for years; following are five reasons why the state Senate should decline Governor Beebe’s invitation to create a new insurance bureaucracy.

1. A state exchange will not increase local policymakers' control over insurance providers or create better customer service.

2. A state exchange will burden state taxpayers and state budgeters. 

3. A state exchange will load political accountability onto state officials for federal Obamacare problems.

To read the other two reasons and an in-depth analysis, read our full paper.

Tuesday
Apr162013

Can Arkansas Escape From Medicaid Expansion if the Federal Government Breaks Its Commitments?

Despite a failed vote yesterday on HB 1219, Arkansas House members are likely to have another bite at the apple today on funding the “private option.” Lawmakers have spent a substantial amount of time this session creating and designing this particular version of Medicaid expansion, which would funnel Medicaid payments through private insurance companies. Legislators who must choose whether to fund Medicaid expansion (whether it is labeled the private option or not) should understand that a central argument made in expansion’s favor is groundlessly overconfident.

More precisely, the advocates of the private option version of Medicaid expansion have explained that, if their plan does not work as expected (if, for instance, the federal government fails to make good on its future commitments), then Arkansas can always exit the expansion and return to the previous status quo. Unfortunately, private-option advocates have ignored both statutes and case law when explaining that Arkansas can always check out of the private option if the federal government fails to meet its funding commitments. Advocates of the private option therefore make a fundamental mistake when they explain that Medicaid expansion can risklessly be explored or casually exited; in fact, there is substantial reason to believe that when a state chooses Medicaid expansion, it is something like a decision to go down a one-way street. 

To read our latest policy paper, click here.

Monday
Apr152013

How Medicaid Expansion and the "Private Option" Will Lock Its Clients Into Poverty

Several Arkansas lawmakers have spent a substantial amount of time this session creating and designing their preferred version of Medicaid expansion: they call it the “private option,” because it would funnel Medicaid payments through private insurance companies. Legislators who must choose whether to fund Medicaid expansion (whether it is labeled the “private option” or not) should understand the economic catastrophe that such expansion will trigger: namely, the retarding of economic growth and the trapping of clients into low-wage jobs. 

To read our complete paper, click here.

Monday
Apr082013

POLL: Arkansans Less Likely to Support ‘Private Option’ Than Traditional Medicaid Expansion  

Voters see Medicaid as flawed program, rife with fraud & abuse

A new survey conducted by Magellan Strategies for the Advance Arkansas Institute and The Liberty Foundation of America shows a plurality of Arkansans are less likely to support the Medicaid “private option” than traditional Medicaid expansion as set forth in the Affordable Care Act.  

Dan Greenberg, AAI President, said the results are indicative of a disconnect between voters and their legislators: “In 2012, voters sent a new conservative majority of lawmakers to the legislature -- based in part on a platform of opposing Obamacare and Medicaid expansion. Now, they’re trying to rebrand expansion and pass it under a different name. This poll shows a clear desire from conservative Arkansans to see the Medicaid program reformed, not expanded. The legislature should slow down and gather more information before rushing through a new law in the final days of the legislative session that will entrench Obamacare in Arkansas and create gigantic new liabilities for taxpayers.”

Matt Mayer, President of Opportunity Ohio and Advisor to The Liberty Foundation, said the results show an enormous partisan split on Medicaid expansion: “A majority of Republicans and unaffiliated voters see Medicaid as a flawed program. 75% of Republicans and 50% of unaffiliated voters oppose expansion given the variance in new enrollees. Additionally, these voters do no support expansion because the program contains so much waste, fraud, and abuse, and there is little belief that the federal government will actually keep it promises to fund the majority of the program.”

When Arkansans were given the state cost of expansion, a near majority oppose both private and traditional expansion.   

This poll was conducted with a sample size of 845 Arkansans and a margin of error of +/- 3.35%. To read more results from the poll and to see the methodology, click the links below.

 

Tuesday
Apr022013

AAI Announces Medicaid Town Hall Meetings

Today, AAI is proud to announce five town hall meetings that will be held next week across the state. The meetings will feature national policy experts and focus on the coming changes in the state's Medicaid program.

Policy experts will include Christie Herrera, Vice President of the Foundation for Government Accountability, and Ed Haislmaier, Senior Research Fellow in Health Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation. The panel discussions will be moderated by our very own President Dan Greenberg

April 8:  

April 9: 

We look forward to seeing you all around the state!

Monday
Mar252013

Today's Legislative Invasion of First Amendment Rights



The state Senate will vote on SB 821 today: if passed into law, this bill would create a cumbersome and expensive new government program for registration, training, and tracking citizens who are paid to circulate petitions to place initiatives and referendums on the ballot. SB 821, sponsored by state Senator Keith Ingram, would place extremely heavy burdens on Arkansas’s initiative and referendum process – indeed, the bill almost seems designed to make it difficult or impossible for citizens to run successful ballot campaigns.

You can read "How SB 821 Endangers the First Amendment," AAI's newest paper, here.

Monday
Mar112013

Why Arkansas's Anti-Scalping Laws Should Be Repealed

Friday, we released our latest policy brief titled, “Why Arkansas’s Anti-Scalping Laws Should Be Repealed.” 

The paper, authored by Alex Cartwright, makes the case that anti-scalping laws encourage counterfeiting, encourage fraud, and create consumer confusion. Rather than protect the consumer, anti-scalping laws encourage underground-market activity and restrict the public’s access to events.  

HB1404 by Rep. Doug House addresses many of these concerns and was voted down by the House on Friday, but can be brought back up for consideration before the end of session.

You can read the full paper here.

Monday
Feb252013

Why Prosecutors Shouldn't Be Partisan

HB 1412, which is on today’s House calendar, would remove partisan considerations from prosecutorial races; it would end Arkansas’s practice of partisan campaigns by the state’s prosecuting attorneys. As a general matter, removing party labels from prosecutor candidates is sound public policy: there is good reason to believe that public confidence in the fair and neutral administration of justice will be better justified in a system stripped of open partisanship. To read our latest paper -- "Removing Partisanship from Prosecutors Is In the Public Interest" -- click here.

Wednesday
Feb202013

How Voter ID Makes It Easy to Vote -- And Hard to Cheat

Last week, a majority of legislators on the Senate State Agencies committee passed a voter ID bill for the first time in Arkansas history. SB 2, sponsored by Sen. Bryan King, would require voters at the polling place either to present an identification document or to cast a provisional ballot; it also provides that the very small percentage of voters who cannot afford to pay for an ID can obtain one for free. The bill, in addition to extinguishing in-person voter impersonation, would stop double-voting by dual-state registrants, voting by illegal aliens, and voting under fictitious registrations: this policy makes it easy to vote, but hard to cheat. Voter ID is a common-sense reform to stop vote fraud that is supported by large majorities of Americans, but opponents of voter ID continue to oppose this policy with defective arguments.

Nonetheless, the opponents of voter ID continue to provide flawed legal arguments, groundless statistics, and manufactured facts. The Institute's latest paper, "Arguments Against Voter ID: An Autopsy," is a sure cure for their misinformation.

Monday
Feb042013

Want to hear Steve Moore speak? Register here.

Please join us Thursday to hear Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal, brought to you by the Advance Arkansas Institute.

When: 11:30am to 12:30pm, Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Admission begins 30 minutes prior to event (11:00am)

Admission is free. Lunch can be purchased for $5. Please register in advance here. We urge you to register in advance, whether you want lunch or not.

Where: Arkansas Association of Counties, 1415 West 3rd Street, one block from the state Capitol.

Stephen Moore is an experienced interpreter and analyst of the mysteries of Washington, D.C. Moore is the founder and former president of the Club for Growth. He currently serves as editorial board member and senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal, splitting his time between Washington, D.C. and New York and focusing on tax and budget policy.

* The first 20 elected officials who arrive will receive a free copy of Moore's newest book, "Who's the Fairest of Them All."

* The first 20 private-citizen attendees will also receive a free copy of the book.