Favorite

Tim Griffin's photo op 

Tim Griffin image

Seventeen words from my congressman, U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin of Little Rock, sent me into orbit last week.

Said the Republican congressman, in his Twitter feed: "I am currently touring Arkansas Children's Hospital and learning more about the incredible work being done here."

His tweet was dutifully regurgitated by the Arkansas Republican Party and, I'd guess, other elements of the right-wing electronic echo chamber.

What's not to like? Who doesn't like Children's Hospital and the miracles it performs?

Answer: The Republican Party, if policies count more than a Twitter post intended to wrap a politician in the warm gauze of sympathy for sick children.

Eight months ago, Griffin voted in lockstep with a budget proposal crafted by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan that would have gutted Medicaid as a guaranteed health insurance program for poor people. It would have turned it into a block grant program. Had the legislation not been defeated in the Democrat-controlled Senate, it would have reduced Medicaid spending by almost $800 billion over 10 years. It would have allowed states to cut back services to the disabled, children and the elderly.

Without Medicaid, Children's Hospital doesn't exist as we know it. Sixty-five percent of its patients are covered by Medicaid. Though Republicans wouldn't cut it all at once, it's easy to guess some of the first casualties.

Intensive care and emergency services would continue at some level, but would vital early childhood intervention programs, Head Start and basic primary care continue? The odds would not be good.

I had a personal window last week on the value of such a simple thing as an encounter with a Children's Hospital primary care physician. The only medical problem facing one young patient was head lice. But it was an outgrowth of deeper problems in her home, problems that began being addressed thanks to a call from the concerned Children's Hospital physician. Cut Medicaid and you can soon forget such luxuries as this timely intervention that kept a home intact and a child in school.

Ryan has not given up on his budget plan. He'd still like to cut taxes of the wealthy, at the expense of poorer people, and reduce Medicare and Medicaid outlays. He'd give poor people vouchers to help buy insurance, yes, but the vouchers would be supported by only about a quarter of the federal money now being provided, says the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Faced with rising health costs and insufficient insurance, poor people would go without. The big new Children's Hospital buildings that Tim Griffin toured and touted? They'd be emptied of sick children and caring staff in favor of enriching the wealthy.

The National Association of Children's Hospitals has told Congress that the hospitals are already strapped by decreasing Medicaid support and the burden of uncompensated care. Cuts in spending are also a guarantee of greater costs. Children who need attention, but don't get it, will experience worsening, more expensive conditions.

Polls show American people prefer elimination of tax breaks for the rich and tougher regulation of banks over cuts in spending on vital programs, looser government regulations and no tax increases.

By his past votes, Tim Griffin indicates he doesn't believe the polls. Or he believes that photo ops and lip service at the local Children's Hospital will cover his support for the Republican assault on government-supported medical services for the poor, from children to elderly.

In 2010, many voters voted against self-interest. It could happen again — certainly if no one runs against Griffin. He's currently unopposed.

Favorite

Speaking of Tim Griffin

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Drug companies fight medical marijuana

    Disclosure about financing of the anti-medical marijuana campaign in Arkansas is so far lacking, but it's no secret what's happened in other states — pharmaceutical companies have worked to defeat medical marijuana laws because they create (safer) competition.
    • Sep 25, 2016
  • Ken Starr on the real victim of Baylor rapes

    Kenneth Starr, whose persecutorial past need not be repeated here, gave an extensive interview yesterday with Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune and, boy, was it a corker. The football coach was the true victim, said Starr.
    • Sep 25, 2016
  • NWA voice: Opposition to stadium expansion

    A letter to the editor this morning in Northwest Arkansas voices objections to the Razorback Stadium expansion and outlines some alternative uses for the TV millions that are helping to finance the project.
    • Sep 25, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Little Rock's time

    It is time for Little Rock to demonstrate it is the leading city in Arkansas.
    • Feb 19, 2015
  • The education legislature

    Republican political control in Arkansas means many things: lots of gun bills, lots of anti-abortion bills, lots of efforts to make religious belief law, such as discrimination against gay people.
    • Mar 10, 2015
  • The free lunch legislature

    Is it any wonder the Arkansas legislature thinks you can get something for nothing?
    • Feb 26, 2015

Most Shared

  • George H.W. Bush will vote for Hillary. Or will he?

    Politico reports that Kathleen Harrington Kennedy Townsend says former Republican President George H.W. Bush is voting for Hillary Clinton for president. The article quotes a Bush spokesman as declining to confirm or deny.
  • Who's harming women?

    Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is an Arkansas Republican. Thus, like the governor and the Republican-majority legislature, she intends to do everything she can to deny women comprehensive medical care, particularly abortion.
  • New normal

    No two presidential candidates since polling began have run up negatives as massive as those of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who yet won their parties' nominations easily. "What gives?" may be the biggest political mystery in history.
  • Additional rape charges filed against Conway doctor

    Special Prosecutor Jason Barrett has added 11 more victims to two others alleging rape by Dr. Robert Rook of Conway.
  • Big Dam Bridge 100 brings big damn complaint about celebrity rider Hincapie

    The Big Dam Bridge 100 is this weekend and one dedicated biker isn't happy about a celebrity rider, admitted doper George Hincapie.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Who's harming women?

    Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is an Arkansas Republican. Thus, like the governor and the Republican-majority legislature, she intends to do everything she can to deny women comprehensive medical care, particularly abortion.
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Dope, dice, death

    Unless the Arkansas Supreme Court decides otherwise, voters will have six constitutional amendments and one initiated act to consider in the Nov. 8 election.
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • Medical marijuana? Yes.

    Proponents of competing medical marijuana proposals have begun sniping at each other. Private cultivation and methods of dispensation are among the arguments.
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

September

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  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Medical marijuana? Yes.

    • I have epilepsy seizures . My mama said I have had them since six mths.old…

    • on September 25, 2016
  • Re: Don't blame trigger warnings

    • It would seem pretty much a given that an instructor, even at the university level,…

    • on September 24, 2016
  • Re: Dope, dice, death

    • At this rate a special master will soon be needed to adjudicate the citations handed…

    • on September 24, 2016
 

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