Rep. John Burris (R-Harrison), chairman of the House Public Health Committee and an architect of the GOP-led “private option” health insurance expansion plan, said he believes there is room for tax cuts with or without the Medicaid expansion alternative.

“I personally believe there’s room for tax cuts even without it,” Burris said in a Talk Business Arkansas interview. “I’m not supporting Medicaid expansion to get tax cuts. I support the private option because I think it’s the best policy.”

Burris also discussed options related to the private option plan, which he was able to maneuver out of a House health committee earlier today. Burris said he plans to bring up the plan later this week, as early as Thursday.

While he feels there is majority support for the health insurance expansion enabling legislation, Burris said the supermajority of 75 votes for funding the bill is still not certain.

“Because DHS’ budget is so large, they always have excess [appropriation authority] and since the private option will only take place halfway through the year and it’s a phase-in – you’re not going to have 100% enrollment on day one – the appropriation level needed to operate that is far less than it would be if it were an entire year,” Burris said.

“The point is they have enough excess appropriation already built in to their request to fund the private option. It would be the same. They really don’t even have to add appropriation authority.”

Still, Burris said if a funding bill for the private option can’t muster 75 House votes, he will not advocate with going forward on the insurance expansion plan.

“If we get to the point where 75 members of the House aren’t comfortable and that appropriation is voted down, then we need to find a way to address the concerns and make sure that the private option isn’t implemented against the will of people who voted against the appropriation.”

Watch his full interview below.

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