Tom Cotton avoids taking stance on private option | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tom Cotton avoids taking stance on private option

Posted By on Sun, Apr 13, 2014 at 5:23 PM

click to enlarge COTTON: Won't weigh in on the private option, calling it a "state-based issue."
  • COTTON: Won't weigh in on the private option, calling it a "state-based issue."
The private option — the state's unique plan using Medicaid funds to purchase health insurance for low-income Arkansans — has provided coverage to 150,000 Arkansans (and counting). The funding mechanism for the private option is Obamacare, and repealing Obamacare is at the top of Rep. Tom Cotton's agenda. Repeal Obamacare, and the private option dies with it. 

At today's presser
, I asked Cotton about this. 

"We would repeal Obamacare and replace it entirely with many reforms for our health care program," Cotton said. I asked whether he had a specific replacement plan which would cover all the folks who would lose their coverage if Cotton succeeded in repealing the law. He trotted out some tried-and-true Republican talking points which would do no such thing, such as allowing insurance to be sold across state lines. "We want every Arkansan, we want every American, to have quality, affordable access to health care," Cotton said. 

Okay, but the thing is, Cotton offered no details on a plan that would cover the people that the private option does. Similarly, Cotton's platform offers repeal Obamacare + hand-waving. 

As lots of folks have pointed out over the last month, Republican candidates are coming to terms with the fact that repealing Obamacare means that millions of people would lose their coverage — so they vaguely say they'll sweep in some replacement. Every American should have access to quality, affordable health care, says Cotton!  But the details never come, in part because, as one GOP aid put it, "As far as repeal and replace goes, the problem with replace is that if you really want people to have these new benefits, it looks a hell of a lot like the Affordable Care Act." Once you start dismantling Obamacare's pay-fors and policy mechanisms, you start diminishing coverage. At least Rep. Paul Ryan was honest enough to admit that repealing Obamacare means repealing the popular parts (and most of the provisions in the law are very popular), not just the unpopular stuff. That means a lot of people who have gained health insurance under the law would lose it.  

In short, unless and until Cotton offers a detailed plan to cover the 150,000+ Arkansans who have gained coverage under the private option, the impact of his policy stance would be that those folks would lose that coverage

Of course, many Republicans in the state would prefer to repeal Obamacare, but given the state's options with the law in place, concluded that the private option was the best approach. I asked Cotton: under the circumstances, does he think that the state made the right decision? Much like Asa Hutchinson, he declined to take a position. 

"The private option is a state-based issue," he said. "Once we repeal Obamacare, Arkansas, like every state, will address its own needs, hopefully with a Medicaid system that has been returned to them and lets them address their needs for the entire state." 
 
As Max has pointed out in this space many times, Cotton's political director Rep. John Burris (now on leave from the campaign as he runs for state Senate) was one of the key Republican architects of the private option. But I think a simpler explanation for Cotton's bobbing and weaving and refusal to take a position on the issue is that, like Hutchinson, he wants to straddle the fence. The last thing Cotton and Hutchinson want to do is piss off the Tea Partiers in their base who loathe the private option — but they also have to appeal to moderates and independents who might view the policy favorably. Thus Cotton says it's a "state-based issue" and Hutchinson says it's up to the legislature, and who knows what they actually think on one of the biggest policy questions in the state of Arkansas. 

Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

  • DHS continues to reimburse Medicaid managed care company co-owned by Preferred Family Healthcare

    The Department of Human Services continues to use a provider-led Medicaid managed care company that is part-owned by Preferred Family Healthcare, despite a recent decision to cut other ties with the Springfield, Mo.-based nonprofit enmeshed in multiple corruption scandals.
    • Jul 13, 2018
  • State yanks PFH funds

    Another former executive with scandal-plagued mental health provider arrested.
    • Jul 5, 2018
  • Robin Raveendran and Person 9 in the Cranford/Preferred Family Healthcare web

    The federal criminal information released as part of former lobbyist Rusty Cranford's June 7 guilty plea on bribery charges describes a Person 9 who worked for the nonprofit healthcare provider Preferred Family Healthcare and was associated with Cranford. The description of Person 9 appears to match Robin Raveendran, the former PFH executive — and former longtime staffer at the state's Department of Human Services — who was arrested Thursday in a separate case, charged in Independence County with two felony counts of Medicaid fraud after an investigation by the state's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
    • Jun 29, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel applauds Trump's EPA choice of climate change denier Scott Pruitt

    Dustin McDaniel gives the thumbs up to a man set to dismantle EPA regulations.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Little Rock housing study finds linkage between respiratory-related hospital stays and property code violations

    People hospitalized for a respiratory-related illness at UAMS were twice as likely to rent a property that at some point has been issued a mold-related violation notice from Little Rock's Code Enforcement Division when compared to a control population adjusted for demographic differences.
    • May 2, 2018
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017

Most Viewed

  • Correction Board heeds governor, fires Community Correction director for seeking to increase budget

    The state Board of Correction has voted to fire Sheila Sharp as Community Correction director. Gov. Asa Hutchinson wanted a change, apparently because Sharp didn't want to cut the budget enough. She said the cuts he wanted endanger public safety.
  • KATV report: A web of financial woes for hotel owner, political player

    KATV reports on financial troubles building for Gary Gibbs and his businesses, including a hotel in Hot Springs and a resort in Desha County. The article reports also on a complaint filed by a prosecutor against Gibbs, who's been a political player in the past.
  • Lawsuit seeks halt of Interstate 630 widening work

    A federal lawsuit was filed today to halt work on an expansion of Interstate 630 between Baptist Medical Center and University Avenue because the Arkansas Department of Transportation didn't perform an environmental assessment of the work. UPDATE: The state refused service of the lawsuit, an unusual happenstance that a federal judge might hear about Thursday.
  • Judge won't back effort to stop demolition of bridge at Clarendon

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported this morning that a deadline to work out a deal to save the abandoned U.S. 79 bridge at Clarendon had passed with no deal between preservationists and the state. It was no surprise.
  • Which Republican are you going to choose for Arkansas Supreme Court?

    Arkansas voters have a difficult choice in the race in November for Supreme Court justice — incumbent Courtney Goodson or David Sterling, who's using a state job at DHS (wouldn't you like to see his leave records) to run for the office by making the rounds of Republican gatherings. Goodson has her own Republican ties.

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation