Democrats press Asa Hutchinson on private option position | Arkansas Blog

Monday, October 7, 2013

Democrats press Asa Hutchinson on private option position

Posted By on Mon, Oct 7, 2013 at 10:03 AM

click to enlarge CHANGE IN TONE: Asa Hutchinson tweets on Obamacare.
  • CHANGE IN TONE: Asa Hutchinson tweets on Obamacare.

Arkansas Democrats are going to own Obamacare one way or another. And Republicans are doing their best to hang it on them.

But can Republicans have it both ways?

Remember, the same Republican Party that is willing to shut down government and ruin the country's credit rating rather than allow funding of Obamacare provided the leadership and critical votes for adoption of Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion in Arkansas, along with a hybrid health exchange program that most Southern states refused to even consider.

The Democratic Party thinks Asa Hutchinson, the leading Republican gubernatorial contender, shouldn't be allowed to have it both ways.

Democratic Party of Arkanas Chair Vincent Insalaco released the following statement calling on Asa Hutchinson to tell Arkansans if he supports the private option:

“Asa Hutchinson is running for Governor by running away from voters. He refuses to explain his position on the private option. His attempts to duck, dodge and dive away from giving a straight answer on whether he supports the private option are unacceptable for someone campaigning for the highest office in the state.

“Asa has said in the past that he would have signed the private option but now he is backing away from those comments. How can Arkansans trust him to lead if he won’t level with them on this critical issue?

“Asa Hutchinson refuses to answer a simple question: Does he support the private option? I am calling on Asa to give a straight answer to Arkansans on whether or not he supports this bipartisan plan to provide Arkansans with quality, affordable health insurance. You can’t lead Arkansas if you can’t level with voters.”

Hutchinson's tone has changed. In May, he said the private option Obamacare plan was a  "creative solution" with many attractive qualities. But in September, he said the legislature wouldn't have passed the plan if he'd been governor. That Hutchinson bus you hear is running over John Burris, David Sanders, Jonathan Dismang, Davy Carter et al. Same bus driven by extremists Tim Griffin, Tom Cotton and Rick Caldwell, as they lobby to destroy the government rather than pay for the private option expansion.

By mid-September, though, Hutchinson  had two primary opponents opposed to the Obamacare expansion his party's legislative leaders devised. Plus, teabaggers are in control nationally,

So which is it, Candidate Hutchinson? Yes or no? Creative solution or a non-starter?

UPDATE: Commentary in The City Wire by Clint Reed, a political consultant who works for a variety of Republican candidates, who writes that elections have consequences. Such as Obamacare. And, by the way, he sings the praises of the private option (while helping the campaign of a dogged Republican opponent in Jonesboro).

I know personally of one middle class family (husband and wife) who are both over 60 years of age but do not yet qualify for Medicare. As they say, “we have spent a lifetime paying our part into the system.”

They are both recently unemployed, have pre-existing conditions, and are tobacco users. Before the private option, they could not get insurance companies to even provide a quote for coverage based on their pre-existing conditions, their age, and tobacco usage. All it would take is for a major healthcare issue to occur to either member of this family, and chances are they would be forced to file bankruptcy.

Now, under the Private Option, this same family will have the opportunity for health insurance at an affordable premium. I believe this is an example of political parties working within the democratic system to achieve something beneficial for all people – not just Democrats or Republicans. There are also countless other local stories of positive outcomes.

UPDATE II: The Hutchinson campaign dodges the question. Said a spokesman:

Asa has commented multiple times, on the record, regarding his position [changing] on the private option and all of those instances are a matter of public record. He is on a hunting trip today and unable to be reached for further comment.

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