Supporting Obamacare while supposedly being against it

‘Then you should say what you mean,’ the March Hare went on.
‘I do,’ Alice hastily replied; ‘at least–at least I mean what I say–that’s the same thing, you know.’
‘Not the same thing a bit!’ said the Hatter. ‘You might just as well say that “I see what I eat” is the same thing as “I eat what I see”!’
‘You might just as well say,’ added the March Hare, ‘that “I like what I get” is the same thing as “I get what I like”!’
‘You might just as well say,’ added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, ‘that “I breathe when I sleep” is the same thing as “I sleep when I breathe”!’ – From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carol

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Alice_par_John_Tenniel_edited2When it comes to Obamacare and Arkansas’ Obamacare Medicaid Expansion (called Private Option or Arkansas Works) the Democrats don’t have much trouble saying they are for it and fiscal conservative clearly say they are against it. It is the Establishment Republicans who tend to speak gibberish.

Establishment Republicans vote with Democrats in supporting big government programs, however, this creates a problem for them since expansion of government and government dependency is contrary to the Republican principles. This leads to their use of a lot of word play to explain (or rather to not explain) their positions on Obamacare issues.

Establishment Republicans tend to take one of these Alice in Wonderland routes to explain away their position:

  1. “I am loathed to vote for it but don’t see any other option.” Really? Two-fifths of the states (including those which border us) still refuse to adopt Obamacare Medicaid Expansion.
  2. “Look at the conservative tweaks we made.” This is just a distraction. It is still the same big government entitlement program. The character of the program was not changed with the tweaks known as the Private Option nor would it be changed with the rebranding of the Private Option as “Arkansas Works.” It is a program directed to a population that is substantially made up of able bodied working age adults with no dependents and nearly half do not work at all.  And, the federal government is not going to let any state change that.

Governor Asa Hutchinson was the big force behind keeping Arkansas as an Obamacare Medicaid Expansion state through 2016. Now he wants to keep it beyond 2016 by changing the name from “Private Option” to “Arkansas Works.”  Yet he (and the State Senate and House candidates he supports[i]) still give confusing signals about their support or opposition to Obamacare and even Obamacare Medicaid Expansion.

Governor Hutchinson said:

I opposed and continue to oppose the Affordable Care Act” but “we’re a compassionate state and we’re not going to leave 220,000 people without some recourse.[ii] (Note: the 220,000 is a reference to Obamacare Medicaid Expansion.)

“Everybody thinks it’s inconsistent to oppose Obamacare at the national level but then participate in Medicaid expansion. You can make that argument if you wish, but obviously if they do away and make changes with Obamacare at the national level then they’re going to have to find replacements and solutions to address what all the states are doing and give more flexibility to the states.”[iii]

Also consider what Governor Hutchinson said in his January 6, 2016 press conference. A reporter asked whether the Governor was supportive of the congressional bill to repeal Obamacare.  The Governor talked about how he would have voted against Obamacare if he had been in congress when it was first passed, but he also talked about there having been much water under the bridge since it was passed.  He used so many qualifiers and caveats that we will leave it up to you to decide where he stands.

Contrast the Governor’s comments on Obamacare with those of Bruce Westerman, U.S. Representative for Arkansas’s 4th Congressional District.  Here are the video clips of Governor Hutchinson and Congressman Westerman concerning repeal of Obamacare.


Governor Hutchinson on repeal of Obamacare

Video by Conduit Media Group


Congressman Westerman on repeal on Obamacare

Video from Congressman Westerman


It is clear that Governor Hutchinson is working to continue Obamacare Medicaid Expansion. Meanwhile Congressman Westerman calls Medicaid Expansion the most egregious part of Obamacare.

Video from Congressman Westerman


[i] Noted through various fundraisers this primary election cycle hosted by the Governor such as for Sen John Cooper, Sen Eddie Joe Williams, Sen Jane English, Rep Lance Eads—all who have voted in favor of continuing the Private Option.