Gov. Mike Beebe
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe worked hard to forge a Medicaid expansion compromise
that the Republican legislature would agree to. He found it, and 85,000 people who would otherwise have been shut out from health care have enrolled in Medicaid. Now the Republican legislature wants to take it away
The law in Arkansas stipulates that the legislature has to agree to accepting the additional federal funding for the program for it to continue, and it requires a 75-percent majority in each chamber.
The expansion plan passed the 35-member Senate with one spare vote last year, but one Democratic state senator who voted in favor of expansion resigned last August amid a campaign scandal—and an anti-expansion conservative, John Cooper, took his place last month after a special election.
Another Senate Republican, Missy Irvin, who voted in favor of expansion last year, has now said publicly that she will not support the funding for it this year.
"I had been convinced that the private option might be a first step in the right direction," she said in a statement to the Arkansas Project, a conservative blog, on Jan. 20. "I now see it is leading us in the wrong direction."
Arkansas could be the first state to strip health insurance from the newly insured. They would have the coverage through this year, and lose it in 2015. But Arkansas Republicans don't care about those 85,000 people or the economic boost the expansion will bring. They care about just one thing: hating Obamacare.
"ObamaCare is among the worst legislation ever passed," one newly elected conservative state senator wrote, explaining his opposition to Medicaid expansion. "I do not think that Obamacare is now or ever has been truly about who gets what and how much it will cost. I believe that the real question is if our health care system under ObamaCare will be destroyed in this country for everyone! I think that question only has one answer and it is yes."
They'll cut 85,000 people out of health care to spite President Obama.