Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s vote-against-Obamacare-to-save-it ploy continues to be discussed in private meetings with legislators today.

David Ramsey has more to come, but signals I’ve received suggest changes are in the works to make the procedural amendment to preserve the Medicaid expansion more legally defensible.

As presented last week, the plan was to include an amendment killing the Medicaid expansion in the state medical services appropriation that Hutchinson calls Arkansas Works. But the governor, all understood, would veto that amendment and the appropriation would live.

I noted last week some attorney general opinions — not case precedent — that suggest the line-item veto is available under the constitution only for specific expenditures. I don’t yet know if this specifically or other concerns are addressed by amendments talked about today, but I’m told reluctant Democrats are feeling better about things.


A number of legal options to defend the spending exist if the 75 percent vote threshold couldn’t be reached, including the “necessary expense” exception in the Arkansas Constitution and the legal question of whether Arkansas could not fund a Medicaid program once begun.

Oh, and yes, the easy way would be for two of the Terrible Ten currently blocking 75 percent passage in the Senate to do the right thing for the people of Arkansas.