Monday, November 5, 2012

Republicans ready to bring DC gridlock to Arkansas

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 6:41 AM

DO IT OUR WAY OR ELSE: Sen. Michael Lamoureux.
  • DO IT OUR WAY OR ELSE: Sen. Michael Lamoureux.
I wish the Democrat-Gazette wasn't behind a pay wall because Charlie Frago's article about Medicaid expansion provides some important insight into Republican governance in Arkansas. It's Washington-style my-way-or-the-highway politics. The Democrats might as well stay home if Republicans hold a majority.

Sen. Michael Lamoureux, who'll lead the Senate under a GOP majority, gives every indication of a willingness to impose a blockade of things he doesn't like even without a majority. The Arkansas Constitution bestows that power on a minority because of the 75 percent vote requirement for most spending legislation.

The Republicans want co-pays from poor working people who get added to Medicaid. Even Democrats are looking kindly at the idea of sticking impoverished working people who've contributed toward medical care through payroll taxes. It may be a political necessity. It proved so in ARKids.

Co-pays will, of course, discourage access to the system by poor people. Which will mean some illnesses will go untreated. Which will ultimately mean more costs for somebody — more severe illness, death, unpaid emergency medical bills and all the rest. Republicans simply intend to fight universal health care, an accepted part of society in rest of the western world, to the dying breaths of the uncovered poor.

But it's worse than co-pays.

Lamoureux and the Republicans won't let go of drug-testing. The Florida experience has already proved that it's another red herring. Medical professionals are more likely to be drug abusers than poor folks seeking health care.

Lamoureux throws out the old "root out fraud and abuse" line. I'll believe he's serious when he demonstrates that he understands the vast majority of Medicaid fraud is not by poor sick people but by drug companies, insurance companies, hospitals and doctors gaming or directly cheating the system. Trust me. That's not who the teabaggers see as the enemy. It's the moochers they're after, the 47 percent.

Lamoureux wants greater eligibility verification. What? Photo ID? Of course people should be income-eligible. Is there evidence of many people with sufficient income lining up for Medicaid? I'd be interested to see it. (There is some evidence of middle class people trying to hide granny's assets to qualify for nursing home coverage.)

Finally, the money quote:

A “small amount” of expansion might be do-able if “all our reforms are implemented,” said Lamoureux, referring to the July letter. “But it wouldn’t be 250,000. If they’re not interested in compromise, then we’re not either. They’re not going to be telling us what the expansion is going to be.”

Republican compromise: Do it the way we say. Accept all our conditions or go to hell. We'll decide what federal law provides.

What you have here is part of the Southern massive resistance movement to President Obama's health care law. Much of it is non-negotiable, despite what Lamoureux wants to suggest. The state can take it — and help a quarter of a million people — or, for the most part, it need not. The Arkansas legislature doesn't write the federal health care law. Texas here we come. It's going to be a meaner place, this so-called Land of Opportunity. The feds have said states can participate or not — or drop out entirely if money runs short in the future — but they've said so far that incremental participation is not part of the states' options.

PS — If Lamoureux and the rest of Koch Inc. block Medicaid expansion, it will cut off the federal money that could otherwise correct a $350 million gap in state support for the existing Medicaid program. Think schools, prisons, colleges, along with throwing poor people out of nursing homes and hospitals.

PPS — We are not alone in this lunacy. From Forbes:

The nation’s state and local public hospitals may face an increase of more than $50 billion in the costs of uncompensated care by 2019 if states decide against participating in an expansion of the Medicaid health insurance program for the poor.

The giant price tag to safety net hospitals for patients who are unable to pay their medical bills comes from a new analysis from the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems. The association said the study puts “a dollar figure” on the additional cost of uncompensated care following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

By the way, Sen. Lamoureux: When you cut this spending to UAMS and Children's Hospital and other community hospitals, it's not just sick people who suffer. It's all those jobs that will be lost with no money coming in. Thanks, sir. May I have another?

Tags: , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (30)

Showing 1-30 of 30

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-30 of 30

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The assault on Obamacare begins

    Donald Trump Friday night signed an executive order directing government to scale back Obamacare to the extent possible. Though the signing was mostly symbolic, it likely has implications for Arkansas.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • Two dead in North Little Rock shooting

    two people were fatally wounded about 9 p.m. Friday in a home in the 1400 block of Division Street, North Little Rock.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • 2nd Amendment meets the 1st in Fayetteville on campus carry

    They've had a forum in Fayetteville today on Rep. Charlie Collins' fervent desire to force more pistol-packing people onto the campus at the University of Arkansas (and every other college in Arkansas.) He got an earful from opponents.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Watch the trailer for 'Shelter,' the Renaud Bros. new doc on homeless kids in New Orleans

    Check out the trailer for "Shelter," the Renaud Bros. new feature-length documentary about homeless teens navigating life on the streets of New Orleans with the help of Covenant House, the longstanding French Quarter shelter for homeless kids.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation