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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Jerry Jackson: Hurrah! – Free Money

  • The State of Arkansas now receives about 70 percent of the cost from the feds for those presently on Medicaid
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  • On Tuesday April 9th the Arkansas Democrat - Gazette gave us the quote of the day, or as they surmised it might be the quote of the year.  They referred to Governor Beebe in explaining why we need to act now with no delays on passing the Medicaid Expansion bill backed by all Democrats and some Republicans.  The quote – “I don’t want to give away a year’s worth of free money.”
                This is a perfect example of why we are in the mess we’re in on federal fiscal issues.  On one hand we have a federal government, who is begging people and states to take more of their money, and on the other hand we have individuals and state leaders like Beebe who are contriving to get even more of this free money.
                The State of Arkansas now receives about 70 percent of the cost from the feds for those presently on Medicaid.  I have heard that how the state can get more money is to move about 40,000 people from the current program to the new expansive Medicaid program where the feds will pick up 100 percent for three years and 90 percent thereafter.  According to the Dem-Gaz if all states followed this move, it could cost the federal government up to 50 percent more.
                And just where does Beebe get his idea this is “free” money.  Those of us, who are writing out big checks to the Internal Revenue Service this week or watch our federal deficit now exceed 17 trillion dollars, might question this greedy definition of “free”.
                Even prior to the start of this legislative session Governor Beebe has urged us to get on the bandwagon now and sign up quickly for Medicaid expansion for some 250,000 to 300,000 Arkansans.  A couple of times he met with the “give away queen”,
    Kathleen Sebelius, and she guaranteed him she would work with him for the betterment of us Arkies if only we would sign up.  Why, to emphasize the point she even gave us a letter saying we could opt out of the program if the state deemed it too costly.  Honestly now, do you think it would be feasible or even decent to send a letter to 300,000 Arkansas citizens saying, “Sorry, we just realized we can’t afford it therefore you are no longer covered.”
                Now come the Republicans who control the legislature for the first time in more than 100 years.  Ignoring Beebe’s insistence to act like the country did on Obamacare – pass legislation now and find out later what it is – the Republicans actually took a more cautious approach to study alternatives and receive outside expertise before jumping in with both feet.
    Page 2 of 3 -             These “new guys on the block” came up with a fresh new idea and that is to create the “private option” which allows individuals to buy insurance from private companies.  This concept coupled with the plan to provide co-pays and some individual responsibility results in great improvements over government control of all functions. As of this writing Arkansas has not yet received in writing from the feds this Republican idea will be acceptable.
                So if this “private option” concept comes to fruition, is this a good idea?  I don’t believe so and here is why.  Adding 250,000 people to a Medicaid program that can’t handle the current Arkansans covered under the existing program is fiscally foolish. Throwing this problem to the feds who are virtually bankrupt is not a responsible move.
                In addition, having insurance companies handle all these claims is not a panacea or even a probable solution.  The feds have made it clear the insurance companies must meet all the mandates set down by Sebelius & Company.  As a result insurance premiums will skyrocket and many people will blame this on the greedy corporations.
                In fact it is possible this approval by the feds to allow private insurance companies to be involved is part of a grand plan to have the insurance companies be the fall guy thus allowing the feds to come in and throw out the insurance companies.  The federal government would then completely dominate the picture and take us where Obamacare intended - complete socialized health care for all of us.
     
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                And what about all these vetoes by our governor?  Vetoes on the two anti-abortion bills can only be described as Beebe being completely out of sync with both houses of the legislature and the large majority of Arkansans.
                His veto on the voter I.D. bill is something else.  Our governor says this legislation is an unnecessary solution in search of a problem and besides it will cost money to provide photo I.D.s to those who don’t presently have one.  Isn’t it interesting how our governor has selective worrying about spending tax payer’s money?  What was his response to the state treasurer costing us almost 500 thousand because of careless actions?  Beebe said I don’t want to get involved with this; she, “the treasurer” was elected by Arkansas voters.
    Page 3 of 3 -             His comment that voter fraud is and has not been a problem is completely void of Arkansas history. Just last September former Rep. Hudson Hallum, Democrat from Marion, along with three other men pleaded guilty in Federal Court to bribing voters with cash, chicken dinners and vodka in exchange for votes.  That might qualify as voter fraud.  Even more related to the voter I.D. bill are the precincts where Democrat votes totaled more than the registration.  Republican Senator King noted that we have had voter fraud in Arkansas for years, and commented that Beebe is turning a blind eye to the issue, just as Democrats have in the past.
     
    (Jerry Jackson of Heber Springs writes his “conservative viewpoint” column each week)

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