Arkansas Tea Party Republicans make war on working poor | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Arkansas Tea Party Republicans make war on working poor

Posted By on Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 9:38 AM

click to enlarge NATIONAL ATTENTION: For continuing Arkansas Republican fight against insuring working poor people and their children.
  • NATIONAL ATTENTION: For continuing Arkansas Republican fight against insuring working poor people and their children.

The movement by a Republican minority to take advantage of Arkansas's screwy Constitution (three-fourths approval required for spending bills) and kill the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in Arkansas is drawing national attentional.

Here's an extensive report from Talking Points Memo — drawing generously from reporting by the Arkansas Times' David Ramsey — on efforts here to roll back an expansion of Medicaid to the benefit of working poor people — some 85,000 at last count. Noted:

If that came to pass, more than 85,000 Arkansans who have signed up for coverage through the Medicaid expansion would presumably have that coverage stopped in 2015. Arkansas's alternative Medicaid plan uses Medicaid dollars to pay for low-income residents to purchase private coverage through HealthCare.gov. A select few, those making between 100 and 138 percent of the federal poverty level, would qualify for tax credits to purchase new coverage through HealthCare.gov. But the poorest of them, those below the poverty level, would be left without insurance.

The article is illustrated with a photo of state Rep. Bruce Westerman, a diehard opponent of the expansion, giving a big thumbs down on a legislative vote. He's running for Congress now, but you won't find any milk of human kindness on the part of his billionaire-backed opponent Tommy Moll. Nor from Senate candidate Tom Cotton, whose ace political man John Burris now fights a rearguard battle to preserve a market-based expansion of coverage for working people that Cotton wants to rip asunder. In fact, you can't find a Republican anywhere running with a kind word to say about President Obama or his health care law.

Stacy Hurst, maybe, the self-described moderate Republican candidate for a state House seat currently represented by a pro-private-option-supporting by term-limited Democrat, John Edwards? That's one of several interesting questions facing her.

BY THE WAY: Ice or no ice Rep. Burris says he plans to forge ahead this afternoon with a meeting of the legislature's Public Health committee. Among the topics are questions raised about whether the state has adequate triggers to escape from the expansion if funding doesn't come as expected. Earlier testimony raised questions about differences in state law and terms of the waiver agreement by which the federal government allowed the state to pursue the private option version of Obamacare. Conservative groups are rallying to that cause in the last-ditch fight being waged here and everywhere to prevent people from growing to like expanded and better health insurance.

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