Arkansas LegislatureMedicaidObamacarePrivate Option

Senator Irvin: I'm A 'No' On The PO

02-23-2012 Candidate FilingSenator Missy Irvin, one of the deciding votes for the ‘private’ option in last year’s legislative session, has issued a statement today saying she will not support the funding of the program going forward. Here’s some of what she had to say (full statement here):

Amending the private option legislation and in the end voting for it, was one of the most difficult decisions of my life. And now deciding to vote to discontinue it’s funding is equally as difficult.  But with the policy decisions that have been made which we don’t have much control over, and the ever-changing tides from the federal government, I am opposed to moving forward and will not vote to fund the appropriation for the private option. While opposed to further public dependence on government programs, I had been convinced that the private option might be a first step in the right direction. I now see it is leading us in the wrong direction.

Irvin continued:

However, via Presidential executive orders and decisions, Obamacare is a moving target and the mandates appear increasingly likely never to be enforced, which gives us a policy that cures a problem we really don’t have. It will be a constant moving target that can only be fixed at the federal level through legislative action. The information and facts we had then, are not what we have now.  The reality is that approval of Health Savings Accounts is entirely in the hands of the federal government, and we have yet to have any meaningful plans on how this will be implemented, how people auto-enrolled with an insurance plan will transition to these accounts, and if the amendments will actually be approved by the federal government. I’m not going to sign a check if I don’t know exactly what I’m getting.

In short, Irvin’s declaration amounts to a death blow for the ‘private’ option funding in the upcoming fiscal session — at least the 2013 version of the ‘private’ option. As I wrote last week, the margin for error getting the funding through the Senate was precisely zero after John Cooper’s victory in Jonesboro. That margin has now been breached. Perhaps a different version of the PO may emerge or — as some lawmakers are now speculating — the funding may get hidden, dispersed throughout different lines of the budget. But it seems clear at this point that Irvin’s withdrawal means we will see a very different ‘private’ option or no ‘private’ option at all.

We are all often quick to criticize legislators when we disagree with them, but we should be equally as quick to praise public officials when they make the right decision. While I strongly disagreed with Senator Irvin’s vote in the last session, I appreciate her acknowledgement that she did the wrong thing and her steps to correct course. Drawing a line in the sand against leadership — especially in such a public and definitive way — is no easy task.

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8 thoughts on “Senator Irvin: I'm A 'No' On The PO

  • Christine

    I also was pretty irritated with Missy Irvin for caving on the private option at the last minute in the last session, but I have to say I am very pleased that she is doing the right thing now! She gets my respect and praise for correcting course.

  • Interesting that Missy made this official the day before announcing that she is running again. I really like her but the Private Option antics just about did it for me. I need someone that won’t change their mind for last minute, behind closed door meetings. My support is doubtful.

    • dan cathey

      Great choose but it never should have gotten this far, just look at the Federal Government no one knows what is next. Now if they would do something about putting unsafe chemicals in the drinking water or just bring it to a vote of the people that are having to drink poison so the children will have good teeth I would like that. That is why my well is still very active. Maybe we can give the Lobbyist back their money and get our water clean.
      ain’t never and ain’t guna start drinking bad water

  • Clay Cooper

    “the most difficult decisions of my life”
    How difficult is to just say NO!
    How hard is it to not to be dragged down that road!
    How hard is it to say, the “PO & Obamacare isn’t up for discussion, it’s bad medicine”!
    If one finds it difficult, they need to go apply for a job at Walmart as a greeter, but would probably find that difficult to!!!

  • wondering

    Just wondering if her newly re-found opposition has anything to do with the possibility of her having a primary opponent. Reporter for dem-gaz put out info of her likely having a primary opponent on Friday that opposes PO, and Monday she releases a statement.

  • Jak Lokritsch

    Arkansasians deserve health care, no matter what it costs. It is just plain wrong, indecent, and anti-Christ to deprive honest folks of the basic needs in life.

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