Editor’s note: You can watch the full video of today’s Talk Business & Politics Daily at the end of this report, or download an audio version through the iTunes store under “Talk Business & Politics.”
Tuesday’s Talk Business & Politics Daily digital newscast features State Sen. Jim Hendren, R-Sulphur Springs, who discusses his take on the current health care debate in the wake of insurance premium increases for the state’s private option providers.
Hendren also discusses other legislative priorities for the 2017 session, jet flying, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, and his plastic manufacturing company’s expansion.
Hendren, the Senate majority leader, said he’s worried that without some controls on Medicaid and insurance programs, the viability of the marketplace will be in jeopardy like other states are experiencing.
“I have said all along that if we do not have flexibility to put real world common sense controls on these programs they are going to get too costly. We did that and we turned the teachers’ insurance program around because we didn’t have to ask the federal government’s permission,” Hendren said. “But in this situation, we have to ask for several things and the federal government has said no to the same type of proposals that are done in private business all the time. So yeah, if the federal government does not give us some flexibility on both the expansion policies and the exchange policies, I think it is going to spin out of control.”
As co-chair of the Health Reform Task Force, which has led the private option to Gov. Hutchinson’s vision of Arkansas Works, Hendren has spent countless hours at the capitol obsessing over health policy. He says he might be ready for a different challenge in 2017.
“Healthcare is important. It is an important issue and I am glad to have an opportunity to try to make things work in Arkansas, but yeah, I am ready for some issues and I think we will see those. I have been involved in some other issues, but not to the depth that I have this one,” he said.
What might those “other” issues entail?
“I would like to sink my teeth into figuring out a way to be smart about tax cuts. So not just passing tax cuts, but also passing some spending reductions so that we can have responsible growth. We can not do things that really have a determent on the people of Arkansas because of unrealistic cuts, but yet we can get rid of some things that need to be gotten rid of then afford tax cuts in a responsible way. So I am going to be working hard on the budget and the tax code,” Hendren said.
Also on today’s Talk Business & Politics Daily, Politico’s Katie Glueck describes what to watch for in the closing weeks of the Presidential campaign and we look at three numbers impacting business across Arkansas.
Watch today’s interviews plus our Top Stories recap in the video below.