Columnist John Brummett writes from behind the Arkansas Democrat Gazette's paywall today about an emerging sentiment among some state legislators to delay a decision on accepting federal Medicaid expansion until a special session.
Brummett endeavors to make the case for a well-considered, single-minded focus on this big question, particularly given some potential stumbling blocks worth consideration.
This is all well and good if more than three Republicans are really serious about solutions. I think, however, that the Republican Party health care strategy nationally (meaning, particularly, the Solid South of Dixieland) is delay, delay, delay. Through legal, political, interest group and filibuster pressure they plan to continue massive resistance to any movement toward the universal health care that is the birthright of other developed nations. The pretext of careful study is only the dressed-up language of the cultured segregationists of the 1960s. They cloaked their bigoted resistance to civil rights legislation in promises of giving the nigras a full seat at the table when the time was right and the federal gubmint was sufficiently well-versed on the peculiar needs of southern regions in implementation of the broad legislation. That time being never.
I'm particularly disappointed to see Brummett repeat the most spurious of Republican debate points — that the federal government may retreat in future years from the promise of 90 percent support of Medicaid. It might also retreat some year from providing postal service, highways and a national defense, but that is no reason to refuse to participate in the blessings of these programs today. Arkansas Republicans argue that Arkansas must stand up for tighter federal budgeting, even if it means cutting the throats of Arkansas people in need of health care. They'd have more moral ground if they'd stand up against federal spending in other areas. Why not reject financial support of the Arkansas National Guard, for example? Or refuse federal highway dollars?
I do believe there are a handful of Republicans who honestly believe full discussion and the manifest needs of hospitals and other Arkansas health care institutions might provide the context necessary to bring along a sufficient majority of rational lawmakers to the obvious conclusion: It would be good for Arkansas to expand Medicaid, both for the state budget and the state's people.
You see the lack I've identified, don't you, in the Tea Party contingent that dominates the new Republican majority?
Brummett, by the way, continues to assert that Medicaid expansion is the "smart and right thing to do," but a few months delay won't matter.
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