Arkansas Moves Towards Obamacare, While Other States Back Away

Arkansas health care reform word cloudLate last month, the Arkansas Legislative Council decided to accept $7.6 million in federal funding—and all the conditions that come with it—to implement a state Obamacare exchange.  State legislators’ response to the White House health care plan has been previously documented here on The Arkansas Project.  Oddly, the ALC’s decision received almost no media attention, but it was a significant development—and an example of how Arkansas has been working to achieve mediocrity in public policy.

While Arkansas has been rushing to the front of the line for the feds’ “free money,” other states have been saying no.  In fact, liberal legislators in the president’s own home state of Illinois are putting the brakes on implementation:

“I’ve suspended the talks on the Illinois insurance exchange until the Supreme Court makes its decision, which we expect in June,” Rep. Frank Mautino (D- Spring Valley)…

Conservatives in Alabama are taking a stand of their own, as Governor Robert Bentley promises, via his Communications Director, to veto a bill that would institute exchanges in his state:

“The U.S. Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the constitutionality of the federal health care law.  If Supreme Court justices strike down the law as the Governor hopes they will, there will be no need for such an exchange.  Either way, there is no need to establish an exchange at this point…If this legislation is approved in the current session, a veto can be expected.”

So, Arkansas Legislative Council, what’s the rush?  We don’t know if Obamacare will stand or fall.  Furthermore, what is the point of setting up exchanges for a program that is not even in effect yet?  What will happen if the law is struck down and we’ve already spent that ‘free’ $7.6 million?  Will we have to pay it back to the feds? Furthermore, do legislators have any independent duty at all to avoid wasting taxpayer money when possible?

While liberal & conservative states alike are advancing against the tide of Obamacare, Arkansas has caved.  Instead of leading, we’re following—Obama.

[A roll call of the vote to accept the Obamacare funding can be seen here, courtesy of Rep. David Meeks.]

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