State’s representatives failed their fellow Arkansans
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.