Josh Miller gets constituent mail; good arguments for all legislative holdouts on Medicaid expansion | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Josh Miller gets constituent mail; good arguments for all legislative holdouts on Medicaid expansion

Posted By on Sat, Mar 1, 2014 at 7:03 AM

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Carol Balderree of Heber Springs thought she heard a different sort of representative when now-Rep. Josh Miller was campaigning for the legislature. But his words and deeds on implementation of the Affordable Care Act have made her think otherwise. Her letter to Miller, published by Blue Hog Report, is worth a read.

It's a good letter for any of the holdouts, though she also emphasizes Miller's personal situation, a recipient of Medicaid benefits who opposes expanding coverage to others. Condensed version of her letter:

1) Arkansas taxpayers are paying to the feds whether it takes the Medicaid expansion money or not. If we don't take it, our money goes to others.

2) We are the only developed country that doesn't provide health care as a birthright.

3) Who's deserving?

You implied that basic health care coverage should only go to the “deserving” in your comment regarding the lady with Parkinson’s. When you were injured in a drunk driving car accident, were you “deserving” of care? Should you have been refused care and allowed to perish because your injuries were of your own making? Of course not! If we are a nation that judges and refuses to care for those we deem not worthy, then we are not a Christian nation!

4) The mandate:

The one aspect of the ACA that Republicans seem to hate the most is the individual mandate–the requirement that uninsured individuals buy health insurance–yet you don’t seem to object to laws requiring individuals to buy liability insurance when they drive a car. Why is that? Why should taxpayers like myself pick up the tab for young, healthy individuals who drive drunk and are severely injured as a result? Does not that young, healthy individual have a responsibility–not only to himself, but to his fellow citizens–to prevent that from happening?

Balderree retains optimism that opponents keep trying to destroy.

The ACA will work for us all if it is fully implemented. I worked for [redacted]1 for over 30 years, and now work as a representative for people trying to obtain disability benefits. I have also volunteered for the last 8 years at the Christian Health Center (which is closing its doors on March 31). In my many years of experience in all these capacities, it has been my observation that many people who apply for disability do so because they have health conditions for which they cannot afford care, because they have no health insurance. With care, many of these individuals would not be on disability. Many of those you referred to with catastrophic conditions (such as stroke, heart attack, and the many manifestations of uncontrolled diabetes) who qualify for Medicaid would not even HAVE those catastrophic manifestations of their illnesses if they had been under medical care for the underlying conditions that led to the stroke, heart attack, or kidney failure.

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