Jan 25, 2015
Gambling, Transparency & the Private Option
This past week, conservative activists in Arkansas once again found themselves square in the middle of hidden agendas amid Private Option rhetoric — only this time the political shell game is being run by the state’s newly elected Republican majority. Discussion among anti-PO legislators and their constituents has centered around a possible definite end date...
This past week, conservative activists in Arkansas once again found themselves square in the middle of hidden agendas amid Private Option rhetoric — only this time the political shell game is being run by the state’s newly elected Republican majority.
Discussion among anti-PO legislators and their constituents has centered around a possible definite end date to the program with repeal in the mix. However, feeling strengthened after the November sweeps, Republicans appear to be unaware of the overwhelming anti-PO position of conservative voters who put them into office.
Governor Asa Hutchinson’s surprise announcement feels the same as the Private Option back-room dealing did in 2013.
Back then, Republican lawmakers supporting the PO didn’t consider the viewpoints of conservative activists important enough to explain and discuss their overall strategy and plans. In fact, lawmakers told us numerous times how we “just don’t understand” while sweeping our concerns under the rug. That lack of interaction and discussion was a major problem then, and apparently nothing has changed now.
Pro-PO lawmakers have consistently discounted fact-finding reports written by Conduit for Action; The Arkansas Project; Nic Horton, Josh Archambault and Jonathan Ingram (Foundation for Government Accountability); and others who became educated in the details of the Private Option/ Medicaid expansion program to help expose facts we do not hear from our Legislature. Since implementation, their factual information has been proven correct time and time again.
Even setting aside conservatives’ financial concerns about the program (and those are formidable), grassroots voters have a right to expect their lawmakers to discuss critically important issues with them. In doing so, Republican lawmakers will find some respect for activists and their concerns may go a long way to reaching some common ground.
But otherwise, we already got a fully formed big government solution crafted by our Governor and Legislature crammed down our throats in 2013.
One thing is clear: We all see that our most important concerns seem to be totally ignored by the historic, newly elected almost totally Republican state government. To our knowledge, none of the newly elected anti-PO legislators have been consulted. The Governor’s healthcare plan just perpetuates the division and puts those fellow Republicans in the same “strong-arm” position as 2013.
It’s unfortunate and more than disappointing that the new Republican government in Arkansas wants to gamble this way with both the support of its voting base and our states’ healthcare and financial future.
A shell game can fool us only a couple of times. Is it any wonder conservative activists keep saying “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”?