Favorite

Health care: We're pro and con 

A new Talk Business/Hendrix College poll sharply illustrates how messaging influences the health care debate.

In Arkansas, a solid 58 percent say opponents should continue to fight implementation of health care reform, despite its validation by the U.S. Supreme Court after its earlier passage by Congress.

The clear message: Obamacare is bad!

At the same time, in the same poll, the opinion among more than 500 Arkansans was about evenly split — 42 for to 46 against — on expanding the Medicaid program in Arkansas, probably the most expensive part of Obamacare.

That message: Obamacare may not be so bad after all!

These contradictory results are not hard to analyze. For a couple of years now, Republicans have been painting the move toward universal health coverage of Americans as socialism at best, sheer evil and the end of our wonderful health care system at worst. (Wonderful if you don't count those who can't access it, our poor results and our high costs.)

It doesn't hurt in Arkansas that the symbol for the message is a black man (suspected by many to be foreign-born and a Muslim). He's reviled in these precincts. The counter-message from Democrats has been almost non-existent. Well, there is poor ol' Jay Bradford, the Arkansas insurance commissioner, who is valiantly trying to put in place a system by which previously uninsured Arkies will be able to get health insurance.

But in Arkansas, the real problem is Obama. And I'll leave it to you to decide why he's such a problem.

Jay Barth notes in analysis of the poll:

"Arkansans' views are in significant contrast to national polling on the issue. Our poll question replicated a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation showing that by a 56 percent to 38 percent margin, Americans were ready for opponents to move on now that the Court had ruled. By a 58 percent to 34 percent margin, Arkansans continue ongoing opposition."

Noted: Arkansas whites polled disproportionately favored continued obstruction.

Arkansas's seeming opposition to better health care is reminiscent of nothing so much as Arkansas's dogged defense of a system of education that was a national disgrace as late as the mid-1970s. There, too, we were poor in service to our people, but somehow perversely proud of it.

The poll results thrill Republican campaign operatives. They plan to make 2012 a rerun of 2010. Every race, from dog catcher on up, will be pitched as a referendum on the black president. If the pitch is successful, a Republican tsunami will ensue.

Then come the consequences. When sick people lose the insurance rights they've just won; when kids are tossed off parents' insurance; when the new health insurance exchanges crumble; when the added cost for seniors' drugs returns; when Medicaid becomes but a shadow program for a tiny slice of the population and kids start losing primary coverage in droves — maybe then Arkansas voters might reconsider just who's wearing the black hat. Is it the black man working for broader health coverage or is it the Arkansas legislators who'd sacrifice the health of hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens to finance tax cuts for millionaires?

A version of this column appeared earlier on the Arkansas Blog.

Favorite

Speaking of Jay Bradford

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Supremely discredited

    Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood and her allies continue to discredit the state's highest court.
    • Jul 30, 2015
  • Hutchinson pulls Faubus move

    I don't know what if anything might arise or be planned in the future relative to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order to end Medicaid reimbursement for medical services (not abortion) provided by Planned Parenthood in Arkansas.
    • Aug 20, 2015
  • Neighborliness, in Little Rock and beyond

    I had a parochial topic in mind this week — a surprise plan by Mayor Mark Stodola to address the Arkansas Arts Center's many needs.
    • Nov 19, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Kids count, not confidentiality

    The trial for the murder of Isaiah Torres, 6, was a reminder again of a gaping hole in the law pertaining to child protective services.
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • Fixing blame: President Trump

    Did the press fail? Were liberal-leaning journalists on the coasts responsible for missing the Trump wave among middle-to-lower income white voters with lower educational attainment?
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Can we get along?

    he Times production deadline fell before polls closed this week, so I'll look to the past and future.
    • Nov 10, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

  • Stay the course

    I am frustrated and angry with those who claim the only chance of future success is for the Democratic Party, especially in the South and Midwest, to abandon speaking directly to women and people of color and the LGBT community and instead focus on the economy and other "more comfortable" topics in order to win back some of the center.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Kids count, not confidentiality

    • Public awareness saves lives
      Confidentiality kills children

    • on December 8, 2016
  • Re: Worth it

    • And loyal, to a fault.

    • on December 6, 2016
  • Re: Worth it

    • Alas, Gene's memory ain't what it used to be. He wrote a column some time…

    • on December 5, 2016
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation