Does The Public Have A Right To Know About The Costs Of Health Care Reform?
Senate Bill 709, the Health Care Reform Accountability Act, requires state agencies to disclose the costs of federal health care reform to the legislature—as well as evidence of specific, state-level statutory or constitutional authority for the state to act—so that state policymakers can be informed of those costs before the law is implemented or enforced. Like the "open checkbook" bill that the House passed yesterday, the Health Care Reform Accountability Act is a welcome step towards the complete disclosure of public business—
disclosure to which the public is entitled.
Like many states, Arkansas may find itself without the statutory or constitutional authority to implement some provisions of federal health care reform. Senate Bill 709 vests power with the Arkansas General Assembly—the primary policymaking authority under Arkansas’ constitution—to develop a clear statutory framework if and when Arkansas moves forward with implementation. It gives state legislators the resources they need for deliberation when making the decisions that federal health care reform has put before us.