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Screenshot of Rep. Josh Miller appearing on
Rep. Josh Miller on All In with Chris Hayes.
You know how experiencing personal tragedy can make some Republicans very nearly human? Like when Sen. Mark Kirk had a stroke and the epiphany that low-income residents on Medicaid wouldn't get the same chance at rehabilitation that he got? And that that was bad? Well, that doesn't work with every Republican. Meet Arkanasas state Rep. Josh Miller, one of the Republicans trying to take Medicaid away from what is now about 100,000 people who've gained it through the state's Medicaid expansion.
Miller, 33, was on an alcohol-fueled drive with a friend about 11 years ago (he can't remember who was driving) when their pickup plunged off a ravine near Choctaw. He was rescued, but suffered a broken neck and was paralyzed. Miller was uninsured. [...]

Months of hospitalization and rehabilitation followed, including a long stretch in intensive care at St. Vincent Infirmary. There was a $1 million bill. Medicaid paid most of it. Miller was placed on disability and checks began. In time, between Medicaid and Medicare, all his health costs were covered by the federal government. For that reason, he need not be among the 82 Arkansas legislators (61 percent of the body) who enjoy heavily subsidized and comprehensive state employee health insurance.

Health insurance isn't Miller's only government benefit. Another federal Medicaid program for which he qualifies provides daily personal care assistance.

Please read below the fold for more on this story.

Miller wants to discontinue Arkansas's private option Medicaid plan, and kick 100,000 people off of it now, because:

He said some who qualify for the private option aren't working hard enough. He claims many want health insurance just so they can get prescription drugs to abuse. He draws distinctions with government help for catastrophic occurrences such as he suffered. He falls back, too, on a developing defense from private option holdouts that they prefer an alternative that wouldn't end coverage for the 100,000 people currently signed up, at least until next year. This is disingenuous. He and other opponents have made clear that they want to strip Obamacare from government root and branch. Here's how Miller boiled his opposition down:

"My problem is two things," Miller said. "One, we are giving it to able-bodied folks who can work ... and two, how do we pay for it?"

Never mind that many of those "able-bodied folks" are working, and working hard. They're often working at multiple low-paying jobs that don't offer any benefits at all and don't pay enough to afford private health insurance. Not that, ultimately, that would make any difference to Miller. He seemingly just doesn't really care about the lives of his constituents who are among the working poor.

Miller clearly feels he is deserving of the millions in government assistance he's received because he's not one of "those" people. And "those" people couldn't possibly as worthwhile to society as he is. Besides, his care is already paid for. He got his, why should he give a hand up to anyone else?

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 10:53 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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