What business leaders, health care organizations and Democrats have been saying for months has finally happened. The federal government is set to take control of Arkansas’ health care exchanges. And it happened because of Arkansas Republicans.
Today, Insurance Department head Jay Bradford announced that due to legislative opposition (subtext – Republicans’ fault), Arkansas cannot meet various deadlines and must cede local control of the health care exchange. Bradford, a former insurance executive who understands the industry inside and out, warned it could cost us tens of millions of dollars in increased premiums.
Republicans opposed this piece of health care reform even though health care industry leaders, such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, believed it’s implementation at the local level would be worthwhile for eligible Arkansas consumers.
Some states with Republican Governors correctly used federal grant money to set up their own health care exchanges and keep as much local control as possible. My favorite example is Arizona Governor Jan Brewer who requested millions from the Feds at almost the same time Arkansas Republicans flew her to Little Rock to headline a fundraiser.
Arkansas Republicans desperately hope that the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Obamacare next year. Ironically, Republicans rail against so-called activist judges who overturn legislation, but now they want activist judges to overturn the law. Republicans hate activist judges only when they don’t.
I’ve talked to many people who oppose Obamacare as a whole, but at the same time they believe health care exchanges can be helpful to eligible consumers. Arkansas Republicans, however, are so partisan they oppose even good ideas if they’re proposed by someone from the opposite party.