State’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives failed their fel­low Arkansans

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE - ANI MARATHE Bentonville

It is now all but clear that Repub­li­cans have failed in their prized goal of re­peal­ing and re­plac­ing Oba­macare. Repub­li­cans never in their hearts wanted to re­place Oba­macare. They sim­ply wanted to make sure no fed­eral money is spent to pro­vide in­sur­ance to the poor and needy peo­ple. Pe­riod.

One may ask where did Arkansas’ all-Repub­li­can con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion stand in all the chaos over last six months. As a res­i­dent of Bentonville, for me, four peo­ple mat­tered. Sens. John Booz­man and Tom Cot­ton, Con­gress­man Steve Wo­mack and Gov. Asa Hutchin­son.

Hutchin­son in an in­ter­view with Talk Busi­ness and Politics a few weeks back in­di­cated that if fed­eral fund­ing to Oba­macare (he re­fuses to use the word Oba­macare and in­stead calls it “Arkansas Works”) is re­duced to, say, 70 per­cent, Oba­macare in Arkansas will end. Never once did he en­ter­tain the idea of rais­ing taxes on peo­ple earn­ing more than $250,000 per year to fund for the in­sur­ance to the poor and needy Arkansans, some of whom may die if the in­sur­ance is taken away from them. So, we know Asa Hutchin­son was OK to take cover­age away from poor Arkansans, and he has al­ready booted 60,000 (plus or mi­nus) Arkansans from the in­di­vid­ual mar­ket­place by rais­ing the in­come limit to qual­ify for health in­sur­ance.

Con­gress­man Steve Wo­mack sup­ported the House ver­sion of the bill, which would have kicked roughly 22 mil­lion Amer­i­cans off the in­sur­ance, gut­ted Med­i­caid by about $8 bil­lion, pun­ished the poor and el­derly peo­ple for be­ing poor and el­derly, pun­ished the peo­ple with pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tion and made in­sur­ance costly to peo­ple with pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions, thereby es­sen­tially kick­ing these peo­ple off the in­sur­ance and let­ting them die for the lack of in­sur­ance. Rep. Wo­mack did not have guts to stand up for 300,000 Arkansans who are ben­e­fit­ing through Oba­macare, all be­cause he wants to rise through the House lead­er­ship! Rep. Wo­mack chose House lead­er­ship over the lives of 300,000 Arkansans.

Sen. Booz­man and Cot­ton were cow­ardly, too, when it came to op­pose a Se­nate bill that would have en­acted Med­i­caid cuts. They chose to re­main silent so that both could avoid a pri­mary chal­lenge when it comes to their re­elec­tion in fu­ture. They chose to let peo­ple fall off the in­sur­ance mar­ket­place. They chose to let the es­sen­tial ben­e­fits go away and to make health in­sur­ance un­af­ford­able to low in­come and el­derly peo­ple, thereby es­sen­tially kick­ing these peo­ple off the in­sur­ance and let­ting them die for the lack of in­sur­ance. Ac­cord­ing to CNN Money, un­der the GOP Se­nate plan a 64-year-old mak­ing $26,500 a year would pay $14,600 in­stead of $1,700 un­der the ex­ist­ing law in just nine years.

So, fel­low Arkansans, re­mem­ber what your elected Repub­li­can rep­re­sen­ta­tives did in a his­toric mo­ment! They were cow­ards. They chose wealthy Amer­i­cans over poor Arkansans (so much for be­ing Chris­tian). They chose their masters over poor Arkansans. They chose to pun­ish the el­derly and the weak­est amongst us. Why? To not have any pri­mary chal­lenger in the next re-elec­tion.

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