Sen. Pryor: Obamacare is creating jobs

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 123 views 

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., is not only not backing away from his support of the federal healthcare act some label as Obamacare, but he said Thursday that the new law is a job creator.

Republicans and Pryor’s challenger, U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, have been and will continue to make Obamacare a central issue in the Senator’s re-election bid.

Cotton has cited Pryor’s vote on the measure as a reason to vote him out of office, and state and national Republican groups have issued numerous press releases on the subject in recent weeks, including today.

Pryor was asked at this morning’s (Aug. 8) Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce meeting if he regretted his vote for the Affordable Care Act.

Here’s a large portion of a transcript of what he said:
Let me say on the front end: the Affordable Care Act is far from perfect. We need to go in and reform it and fix it. By the way, I’ve sponsored and co-sponsored some legislation – we’ve already passed some – and we’ve got more coming that I’m either the lead sponsor or co-sponsor of.

The answer to your question is: I came to the conclusion that the Affordable Care Act was the right thing for Arkansas. I think you can look and see it’s already starting to work, it is working.

Look at what the state legislature did on the Medicaid expansion. Arkansas was creative, we did the private option, the so-called private option. When you add that and the exchanges together, there’s going to be close to 500,000 Arkansans – that’s one-sixth of our population – close to 500,000 Arkansans who are going to have private insurance for the first time or the first time in a long time.

Think about what that’s going to do, the Rand study, when they studied this six months ago, they said this is going to create 6,000 new jobs in Arkansas. People talk about this being job killers – I just went through a list: a 1,000 new jobs at Serco, 150 new jobs at Fidelty, 200 new jobs at Sikes call center, 100 new jobs at Mercy Hospital.

This bill isn’t killing jobs, this bill is creating jobs.

We’ve got a 1,000 new jobs in Rogers, Arkansas directly because of this bill.

Also, there is a vote of conscience there as well. We’re the greatest country in the world, no doubt. But we have a big problem with health care in this country. We’ve got so many people who can’t afford to be in the health care system – they can’t afford it.

Pryor cited a litany of reasons that he said showed the law is working, including:
• Closing the donut hole on Medicare;
• Allowing young adults to stay on parents’ health insurance to age 26;
• Eliminating pre-existing conditions;
• Creating quality care rankings for hospitals to create better consumer demand; and
• Issuing tax credits for small businesses and individuals to have more insurance options.

Pryor added these comments to the State Chamber group audience:
Let’s take the good in the law and build on that. They [Republicans] are not offering a solution. They’re just saying, ‘repeal, repeal, repeal.’ What they were saying a year or two ago was ‘repeal and replace.’

What I told my Republican colleagues in the House and the Senate was, ‘Guys, if you’ll give me something better to vote for, I’ll vote for it. You put something on paper – I’m not talking about a press conference – I’m not talking about a set of talking points – I’m talking about you put legislative language on paper. If it’s better, I’ll vote for it.’

You know what you get out of them? Crickets. Because they won’t put it on paper.