Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe told a leadership convention at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Thursday that he will join a bipartisan panel of former governors next week in speaking to members of the U.S. Senate about health care reform.
Beebe, the former Democratic governor of Arkansas whose term ended in January 2015, was speaking on Thursday (March 2) to about 40 young business leaders as part of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s and Arkansas Business Journal’s joint retreat at the Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain. The “Under 40 Forum” features members of the two media group’s Under 40 classes of 2016. The Clinton School for Public Service is also a sponsor of the event, which is focusing on ways to bridge the divides across Arkansas.
In an interview with Talk Business & Politics, part of the media group that owns the NWA Business Journal, Beebe said he’s been asked to share thoughts with Senators next Tuesday evening on how to craft a bipartisan solution to health care reform.
“We’ll talk about health care, including what we’ve done in Arkansas with both payment reform and with the more private version of Medicaid expansion – the private option,” Beebe said.
In Washington D.C., Beebe will be joined by the former governors of Hawaii, Kentucky, Vermont, and Washington as part of a bipartisan governors’ council. They will be speaking to the Senate Governors’ Caucus, a group of former state governors who now serve in the U.S. Senate.
“Who knows what will come of it, but the fact that they have some interest in listening and discussing it is healthy. It’s healthy for Arkansas. It shows folks that somebody thinks that we may have done some things well. It’s healthy that you have a group of bipartisan senators working together,” he added, noting that governors tend to be less ideologically polarized and are often focused on problem solving.
When asked if the meeting could be a disguise for Beebe interviewing for a role in the Trump administration, Beebe laughed.
“Heavens no! It would not hurt me with some of the people you might think. It would kill me with my wife who wants no part of Washington D.C. in any form,” Beebe said.