Today, Republican House Minority Leader John Burris stepped in it. Let me explain. Early this morning the Democratic Party of Arkansas sent out press release chastising Burris for the following comment he made on Twitter on Thursday:
@john_burris “Romney was spot on. Very poor do have safety net. Don’t believe it? Come look at our state’s Medicaid budget. Billions…”
Burris was lamely attempting to defend Mitt Romeny’s idiotic comment made earlier this week when Mitt said he wasn’t concerned about the poor. Romney’s comment highlighted one of his major weaknesses as a major candidate in that he’s a wealthy elitist out of touch with America. Romney has since furiously backtracked on his earlier comment.
I usually don’t pay much attention to press releases from the Democratic or Republican State Parties since their job is to be hyper-partisan, throw out the red meat for the faithful and maybe get a little bit of newspaper ink. It was John Burris’s interview today with Talk Business that prompted my story. Burris made the following statement in the interview:
John Burris: “We’ve got to change the way we do business in Arkansas. The real problem, the real solution to get people off Medicaid rolls is to give them a job, make them able to self-sustain themselves without government assistance.”
It appears that like Mitt Romney, John Burris is just not in touch with what’s going on with the disabled, poor or even Medicaid. In attempting to solve one political problem, Burris created another.
Here’s why: According to State Health Facts, 95% of Arkansans on Medicaid are either aged, disabled or children.
Maybe Burris believes we should kick old grandma outta the nursing home bed and put her to work as a greeter at Wal-Mart, or those lazy 12 year-olds on Medicaid should quit school and get a job? Of course I jest, but Representative Burris doesn’t seem to to understand Medicaid is for old folks, disabled or children.
For the 5% of adults on Medicaid, some of them may already have jobs, but it’s possible they are so low-paying jobs that it qualifies them for the program, but I don’t know the stats for that small subset of Arkansas Medicaid users. Rep. Burris has previously voted against raising the state’s minimum wage, so he hasn’t been much help to those who are trying to make ends meet.
Regardless, one of the major leaders of the State Republican Party today showed he’s out of touch with Arkansas, much like the rest of the Arkansas Republican Party.
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