Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Arkansas legislature is poised to ratify Obamacare

Posted By on Tue, Mar 26, 2013 at 9:47 AM

BOTH SIDES NOW: Sen. Rapert plays a tricky tune on Medicaid expansion.
  • BOTH SIDES NOW: Sen. Rapert plays a tricky tune on Medicaid expansion.
Ernie Dumas' column this week is particularly timely to me since it bears on a little Twitter debate I had this morning with Fiddlin' Sen. Jason Rapert.

Ernie is writing about the growing popularity of Obamacare, including acceptance of it by even Arkansas Republican legislators.

I got into it with Rapert this morning after he Twittered:

The insanity of Obamacare mandate is mind boggling. May voters rid this nation of every democrat that voted this junk into law!

Did this mean Rapert was prepared to vote against the Medicaid expansion in Arkansas? Republicans haven't been trending in that direction. No matter how I tried, I couldn't get him to declare forthrightly on his coming vote, but, as I sensed, it seems more likely he's pre-spinning a pro-Obamacare vote.

He said he resented Obamacare being "rammed down our throats" (I couldn't help but think of the vaginal probe Rapert wanted to ram somewhere else.) He said the legislature was being "forced to choose from bad options." He said Democrats had already made the decision to take Obamacare in Arkansas and would forever bear responsibility.

In short, it sure sounded like Rapert is getting ready to take the billions provided by Obamacare — a decision the Republican majority has the power to defeat — and take credit for making it a better plan, but blame Democrats for any ills that might be perceived. It's called having your cake and eating it too. It's also called hypocrisy. You also could call it wildly inaccurate if Rapert thinks Republicans should get all the credit for the form Medicaid expansion takes, a so-called private option. See Dumas:

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, celebrated its third birthday Saturday, and you get the feeling that the infant that was so widely unwanted after its difficult birth is gaining family adulation as it develops a personality and character.

Even diehard Republican legislators who demanded an abortion and then, after President Obama signed it into law, wanted it euthanized are showing signs of accepting the little girl as part of the family.

They aren’t saying so, mind you, but they are claiming to have imparted some winning personality to the creature themselves. They got Governor Beebe to go to Washington and talk the secretary of health and human services into having poor adults obtain coverage from private insurance companies on the Obamacare exchange rather than through the state-operated direct Medicaid program, which must have been one of the easiest feats any governor ever undertook. The federal government, i.e., taxpayers, will pay for it either way (quite a bit more under the Republican
plan), but 250,000 poor working adults will for the first time be insured against illness and accident...

...Obama’s original plan, outlined in 2007, was to provide private coverage to the uninsured through federally regulated markets and to expand eligibility for Medicaid for those too poor to afford insurance. Medicaid permitted low-income people to obtain coverage through private plans, though states rarely implemented it because private policies were expensive. That’s why the HHS secretary said “sure, no problem” when Beebe offered the Arkansas Republican plan.

It was true Obamacare.

Aye or nay, Sen. Rapert? And if you're an aye, do you really intend to disclaim responsibility for opting to mandate that the federal government spend billions more in Arkansas on health coverage for working poor? Good on you for the vote, if so. But man up. Take full credit.

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