This morning, the Arkansas Legislative Council voted to reject a motion for separate examination of an $18.4 million grant to set up an Obamacare “partnership” or “hybrid” exchange. 17 Republicans voted to have more discussion on the measure which, for some unknown reason, led left-wing blogger Max Brantley to accuse them of “doing a George Wallace massive resistance on health care reform.” A more sober analysis would note that what appears to be Republicans’ preferred option, choosing a federal exchange, is expressly provided for and permitted under federal law. Furthermore, it would be hard to imagine something more dissimilar to Wallacean massive resistance than choosing a federal exchange. Oh well — never let a chance to intimate that someone you disagree with is a racist go to waste, I suppose.
If you’re like me, you’re wondering, “What the heck is a hybrid Obamacare exchange? Is it really any different than a federal exchange?” Luckily, those thinkers over at the Advance Arkansas Institute are on the case.
In advance of the vote this morning, AAI provided each legislator with a copy of a policy paper on this topic titled “Why a Federal Exchange is the Best of the Bad Options that Obamacare Gives to Arkansas.”
Here’s a quick summary of the paper (you can read it at AAI’s website here).
A partnership or “hybrid” exchange:
- Is relatively costly;
- Loads huge bureaucratic duties on state government;
- Obscures management responsibility; and
- Appears to offer Arkansans little more than higher consumer costs.
For these reasons, the report suggests that Arkansas lawmakers should choose a federal exchange. Regrettably, as previously reported, the ALC moved this morning to proceed with the hybrid exchanges, but many conservative lawmakers are hopeful that this course will be reversed once the legislative session begins in January.
In summary: federal exchange = best of the bad. Hybrid exchange = a losing proposition for Arkansas.
Also, for your viewing pleasure, check out this video from the Goldwater Institute, “Say No To State Exchanges.”