Good story last night from KARK Channel 4 on Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr’s speech to the Political Animals Club yesterday. The headline of the speech was his endorsement of Mitt Romney, but he also talked quite a bit about his opposition to ObamaCare and its implementation in Arkansas. KARK got a very interesting response from the Democratic Party of Arkansas to Darr’s position.
But the Democratic Party of Arkansas disagrees. Spokeswoman Candace Martin said the party stands behind the health care law and its implementation and Democrats are ready for 2012.
Wow. Good for the them for being so clear that they support ObamaCare and are working to implement it in Arkansas. But of course, wanting to be diligent with my blog, I asked them whether this report was accurate. They did not dispute it, but instead said, "We disagree with the Republican Party of Arkansas pushing for the federal government to implement the healthcare exchange."
They were referring to the minority party not signing on to Gov. Mike Beebe’s request for a $3.8 million federal grant to begin planning for the implemention of a health care exchange. ObamaCare contains incentives in the form of grants to states who begin implementing federal health care reform early. The grant money the Democrats wanted would have gone to items such as $1.5 million for a "public education campaign."
In addition, the federal government has offered to outsource part of the function of running the health insurance exchanges to the state government if they play ball on implementation. No one that I have heard has offered any substantive difference for these exchanges other than allowing the funds to flow through a state run agency.
The argument that the Democratic Party is trying to make is that by standing up to Washington, turning down their grants, and therefore slowing down the implementation, the Republicans risk the state not getting to be the outsourcing agency for implementing ObamaCare in Arkansas. Keep in mind this argument is coming from the Party that has gone on record now as standing behind the health care law and its implementation.
Also worth noting, the report from KARK was briefly missing from their website. I posted a link to a cached version of the website and inquired what happened to the story. The station responded that it was a "computer glitch." The story is now back up.