The Arkansas House today approved, on its fifth vote, on the federally funded expansion of Medicaid under President Obama's Affordable Care Act. Needing 75 of the 100 House votes, it passed 76-24.Finally. There's a political lesson here, for both Republicans and Democrats. Now that millions of people around the country have obtained affordable insurance and all of the protections Obamacare has provided, it would hurt people to take it away. Republicans still can't do anything but vote for repeal of the law, voting to take health care away. What happened in Arkansas shows just how politically dangerous that is. Democrats absolutely can run on that. They can run on Obamacare and they absolutely should run on Medicaid expansion.
Rep. Kim Hammer of Benton spoke for the bill. His switch was an early sign approval may be in the offing, but opponents were offering stem-winding speeches against the dangers of government health care. He said he remained opposed to the concept. And he said he'd vote it down in January if it didn't live up to proponents' promises. But he indicated it would hurt people to take it away. But his vote brought the previous count of 73 supporters to 74. In the final vote, two previous supporters of the original legislation who'd been nays this session — Reps. Les Carnine and Mary Lou Slinkard — joined the winning margin. [emphasis added]
A win for Gov. Mike Beebe. And Arkansas.