Speaker Carter Appoints Four To Insurance Task Force

by Steve Brawner (BRAWNERSTEVE@MAC.COM) 4 views 

Arkansas House Speaker Davy Carter has made his four appointments to the State and Public School and Health Insurance Program Legislative Task Force that was created during the special session.

The four appointees under Act 6 are Rep. George McGill, D-Fort Smith; Rep. Harold Copenhaver, D-Jonesboro; Rep. Bill Gossage, R-Ozark; and Rep. Allen Kerr, R-Little Rock.

“Rep. McGill, Rep. Copenhaver, and Rep. Kerr all have extensive experience in the insurance industry,” Carter said in a House press release. “Rep. Gossage brings to the task force his many years in public education and administration. I’m confident all those appointed will use their expertise to bring real solutions to the table by next year.”

The task force will develop a plan to improve the State and Public Life and Health Insurance Program’s financial condition. The program serves state and school employees and retirees. The task force must provide a preliminary report by June 30, 2014, and a final report by June 29, 2015. It expires the day following.

Legislators met in special session last week to address rising costs of health insurance for 47,000 school employees. Act 6 also dissolved the State and Public School Life and Health Insurance Board, which oversees the system, and requires the board to be reconstituted by Dec. 1.

Under Act 6, the task force also includes the chair of the House Education Committee, currently Rep. James McLean, D-Batesville, or a designee; and the chair of the House Committee on Insurance and Commerce, currently Rep. Tommy Wren, D-Melbourne, or a designee.

The 12-member task force will also include four senators appointed by the Senate president pro tempore, Sen. Michael Lamoureux, R-Russellville. It also will include the chair of the Senate Committee on Education, currently Sen. Johnny Key, R-Mountain Home, or a designee; and the chair of the Senate Committee on Insurance and Commerce, currently Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, or a designee.

Key or his designee must call the task force’s first meeting within 30 days of the act’s effective date and will serve as the chair during the first meeting. Gov. Mike Beebe signed the bill into law Monday.