Mark Darr: Go back to the pizza oven | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mark Darr: Go back to the pizza oven

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 9:04 AM

An editorial in this week's Times made a little fun of Lt. Gov. Mark Darr's empty stunt to talk about hooking up with another low-grade state official in Missouri to sue the U.S. government over health reform legislation. OK, so we gave it the sort of seriousness the gesture deserved.

For a more serious, but equally devastating analysis, you might prefer the Arkansas Leader. It, too, sees Darr's mission as a "fool's errand," but explains in some detail how little Darr apparently knows about the law.

This week, he still thought that the law would force him to help the employees at his pizza parlors in northwest Arkansas buy health insurance, but it won’t.

If he were to somehow succeed, people who have gotten new help paying for their drugs under Medicare since last fall and will get more help each year would go back to paying. They would have to pay for cancer and breast screenings again. Kids would go off their parents’ policies before the age of 26. But it will not happen.

... Darr said he has standing to sue because the law would force him to provide medical insurance for his pizza workers and he does not want to. He says he has about 45 full-time or part-time workers.

But the law would not apply to Darr. As a thousand articles about the law have explained, it exempts employers with fewer than 50 full-time workers. Most employers with more than 50 full-time workers would arrange a policy from an exchange of private insurers in Arkansas and help them pay for it or else pay an extra tax to support the health system.

Darr can continue to leave his workers unprotected forever. Starting in 2014, they would buy insurance themselves from the exchange, with substantial government help, or else pay a fee. But the law won’t cost Mark Darr a dime. His own insurance ultimately should become a little cheaper, when he will no longer have to indirectly subsidize the uncompensated hospital care of people without insurance, but that will be the law’s only effect on him.

Who needs facts? Darr will get his publicity and nobody will notice when his suit is tossed out of court.

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