The ‘Private Option’ Debate Gets Weirder

7-20-2012 Candidate FilingGeorge Orwell once said that, in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. At a Legislative Council hearing last week, Senator Jason Rapert said something revolutionary: he noted that the premises under which the state legislature approved the Arkansas version of Medicaid expansion – the “private option” – have completely changed.

Rapert said:

We had a whole different set of rules and expectations as it related to the rollout [of Obamacare and the private option]…on the individual mandates, on the employer mandates…We have stress that has occurred already within the insurance industry in the state of Arkansas…Folks are not very happy about the fact that we have gone through all this work and put in all this time and now we are at a point where literally everything has changed.

Rapert is right.

Rapert then asked the state insurance commissioner, Jay Bradford, whether Bradford was confident in the decisions that were currently being made to implement the private option. Bradford couldn’t do it. He said he wasn’t confident, that he wasn’t in control of the constantly changing decisions about Obamacare that are being made by the federal government, and that he simply doesn’t know – as he put it – what’s coming down the pike. So much for the theory that expanding Medicaid and implementing a state-federal partnership exchange would give us “more control” over Arkansas’s destiny…

During the meeting, Rapert also said he wished that “we could focus on really the central issue around the private option, which is the fact that the [Obama] administration really didn’t want us to do that and [grant] a waiver for that.” This is Rapert’s strongly-held belief that he’s been espousing on Twitter for some time.

According to his theory, the Obama administration didn’t want Arkansas to expand Medicaid and implement Obamacare — which is kind of like saying “The kids didn’t want Santa to eat the cookies; that’s why they left them out for him, along with some milk to wash them down and a sweet, hand-written note.”  In fact, according to Rapert, the Obama administration is so terrified of the ‘private option,’ they approved it! I don’t think most people who are familiar with the genesis of the private option agree with this narrative.

After the meeting on Friday, Rapert also told reporters that he is unsure whether or not he’ll stick with the private option he helped bring to Arkansas and vote to re-authorize it in the upcoming fiscal session. This is startling. Rapert has been a consistent cheerleader for the PO and, if his recent tweets are any indication (like this one and this one and this one), that isn’t changing anytime soon.
With that said, maybe Rapert is ready to put some walk behind his talk: he also told reporters he remains “fully opposed to the Affordable Care Act, and I am even more opposed to it than I was three years ago.” I think being fully opposed to the ACA would force anyone to vote against the private option, but I’ve been wrong before. I would take Rapert’s claim a little more seriously if Rapert hadn’t voted to implement some of Obamacare’s most essential building blocks — such as Medicaid expansion and an exchange — after telling his constituents he’d work to stop it. However, I am hopeful that Rapert really means it this time and will put his tough talk into action, which at the very least means a refusal to support any further spending on the private option.

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5 thoughts on “The ‘Private Option’ Debate Gets Weirder

  • December 23, 2013 at 10:24 pm
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    I am waiting to hear back from Rapert regarding whether or not Arkansans who opt to take the Medicaid/Private Option that they qualify for, will then have to hand over their assets to the state just as you do if you go into a nursing home. This was another unintended consequence for those that live in states that chose to expand medicaid and since in my opinion the private option is medicaid expansion I would assume it applies to us as well. If this is the case people need to be aware of this before they take that so called “free” healthcare. It won’t be free when they think their estate will go to their kids or heirs but in reality it will go to the state. Need clarity on this.

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  • December 24, 2013 at 10:48 am
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    Rapert will say whatever he thinks will get him more power.
    Thanks to the “private option” the drug manufacturer who used to provide insulin for my daughter will no longer do so unless we apply for state Medicaid. Handing over control of my health care to a state bureaucracy is not “helping” our family. NO thanks! But just another “unintended consequence” of the private option that Rapert, Carter, et. al. crammed down our throats Pelosi style.

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  • December 24, 2013 at 8:18 pm
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    Why would anyone believe any thing about health care law. Most people knew it would be bad even when Hilary and Bozo Bill where in the WH. So what changed to make our state and federal elects think it was going to be any different? Maybe it was shoving it through in the middle of the night with only one side voting YES, but it probably was The Wicked Witch of the West ( Nancy the scumbag from fairy land) who said We have to pass it to see what is in it. and we still aren’t sure as it keeps on changing. Now let us address our State House and the other idiots in charge Beebe and the Obomo jerks. Why in the Hell would you think that they even know what day it is, they are to busy worrying about their term limits. and poisoning our drinking and the minds of the future, our children with Common Core in the schools, As Bozo the Clown Bill Clinton said when Obumer kicked Hilary under the Race Bus “give me a break”. They are lairs and thief’s and don’t you ever forget it!!!!!!
    Have a Blessed CHRIST’S Birthday
    dan’o in the Ozarks

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