Saturday, April 20, 2013

EDITORIAL >> A good vote in the Senate

The state Senate and House this week overwhelmingly approved a plan that will expand health-insurance coverage to the working poor.

The innovative program, funded through Medicaid with the participation of private insurers, will cover 250,000 Arkansans who do not now qualify for Medicaid. The Arkansas Hospital Association, seeking relief from having to write off millions of dollars in uncollected debts, successfully lobbied lawmakers who were reluctant to support the federally funded program, which will pay all the premiums for three years and 90 percent after that.

It’s a good deal all around, which is why a rock-ribbed conservative like Sen. Eddie Joe Williams (R-Cabot) helped put the measure on top. It will help local hospitals, small businesses and thousands of workers, who can stay healthy on the job under the new plan.

Local legislators, with a couple of exceptions, helped their communities and showed their independence from outside pressure groups.