Cong. Crawford Opposes ‘Private Option’ Arkansas Plan

by Jason Tolbert ([email protected]) 87 views 

The debate over Medicaid has dominated this year’s Arkansas legislative session.

The most viable option seeking to garner the 75 percent support required is a compromise solution that includes some elements of the expansion of Medicaid, but instead forms a federally-subsidized private option for those in the 100 percent to 133 percent of poverty level.

While many Arkansas Republicans leaders, including House Speaker Davy Carter and Senate Pro Temp Michael Lamoureux, have come out in support of the plan, at least one Republican Arkansas Congressman has come out in opposition.

“Arkansas state legislative leaders are doing their best to make lemonade out of lemons, and I applaud them for taking the initiative to cope with a bad situation,” wrote Congressman Rick Crawford in a press release on Tuesday. “However, I feel the Arkansas Plan, which can only receive temporary approval at best, is destined to worsen the fiscal outlook for our state. As the reality of ObamaCare’s unsustainable and skewed funding formula becomes the subject of review as Congress grapples with the national debt crisis, states that sign up for ObamaCare, even under waivers, will find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place.”

Crawford cautioned that the program would be hard to stop in the future once it is implemented, and instead he suggested state legislators ask Congress to delay implementation of ObamaCare.

“Isn’t it the height of recklessness to add $1.3 trillion in new entitlement spending in the middle of a debt crisis?” asked Crawford. “I encourage all state legislators who are concerned about our nation’s debt crisis to set aside the Arkansas Plan and call on Congress to delay the multi-trillion-dollar ObamaCare entitlement program.”

I will note here my column from last week where I praised the Arkansas legislature’s ability to work together which stands in stark contrast to Washington’s inability to accomplish much of anything. Although Crawford’s opposition could provide some cover for those on the fence – especially those in his district – to oppose the plan, the initial response seems to indicate that state legislators are not anxious to take advice from Washington D.C.

“The U.S. Congress gave us ObamaCare,” responded Speaker Carter this afternoon. “The Arkansas legislature has led the fight against ObamaCare and turned a losing hand into a winning one. A vote for the private option in Arkansas is a vote against ObamaCare.”

You might ask why these state legislators would take much if any advice from anyone in Washington, which fair or not, Crawford is a part of.