Arkansas Gop Headliner Pushing For Health Insurance Exchanges

by Talk Business ([email protected]) 70 views 

Does the Republican Party of Arkansas ever coordinate message and strategy with their Republican Legislators?

Last week, Arkansas’ Republican legislators opposed Governor Beebe’s desire to apply for $3.8 million in federal grant money to set up health insurance exchanges mandated under Obamacare.  If Arkansas doesn’t set up the health insurance exchange by a certain date, the federal government takes over and sets up the system.  Click here for my post from yesterday on this issue.

Apparently, the RPA didn’t get the strategy memo as tonight they’re bringing Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer to headline a fundraiser.  Here’s the fun part:  Republican Brewer requested $30 million this week from the federal government to set up the health insurance exchange in Arizona that Republicans in Arkansas oppose.         

Here’s a quote from Tuesday’s AP article on Brewer’s decision to seek federal grant money:  

Don Hughes, Brewer’s exchange director, said the state will continue its legal fight challenging the constitutionality of the overhaul, but that it makes sense for now to proceed with creating an exchange to Arizona’s liking in case the overhaul is upheld in court and implemented.

"If the U.S. Supreme Court declares the entire law unconstitutional, great, we can make a decision then as to whether we want to stop all work that we’ve done or proceed with setting up an exchange," Hughes said.

Brewer believes it’d be better for the state to design an exchange with "free market" features rather than have a "one-size-fits-all" model imposed by the federal government, her spokesman said.

The Republicans in Arizona make more sense than the Republicans in Arkansas on this issue.

Did Arkansas Republicans not see this message problem coming? Bringing a Republican Governor who applied for a federal "free money" grant to headline an event with folks who are diametrically opposed to her position on the health insurance exchange is not the most adroit political move.

Side note: On the one hand, the Republican Party loves to attack “free money” from the feds, decrying wasteful spending for some items and on the other hand, their elected officials attend dedication ceremonies of highway projects funded by “free money” from the feds.  Cognitive dissonance at its finest. 

You may be unfamiliar with Governor Brewer, so here’s a very brief clip of one of the Governor’s debate performances during her last re-election campaign. It’s painful to watch.

With Governor Brewer’s appearance, a few valid questions come to mind:

  • Do Arkansas Republican Legislators agree with Jan Brewer’s decision to apply for federal grant money to set up the health insurance exchange? 
  • Is Governor Brewer wrong to start implementation of the health insurance exchange? 
  • Are they going to encourage the Governor to return the “free money” from the feds?

Hopefully these questions will get answered.