by Max Brantley
He's not warm to the idea of putting off the Medicaid expansion issue until a special session, an idea some Republicans are floating. So he tells Andrew DeMillo of the AP. If there's to be a special session, Beebe prefers the three-day variety where there's a pro forma and quick resolution previously reached by mutual understanding.
Beebe recognizes, as I mentioned the other day, that this new idea is nothing but a classic Republican delaying tactic. Every month the decision is put off is a month more money isn't spent on the sick people of Arkansas. It is another month of Republican hoping that a legal or political Hail Mary pass will finally bring down President Obama, the health care reform legislation and, ideally, any government spending at all on the takers and moochers who rely on government help for health care, nursing homes and children's health insurance.
Arkansas needs a study such as the one done in Texas that shows that Medicaid expansion will save lives. Thousands will die early deaths without the added coverage expansion will provide. It would likely fall here on ears as deaf as those of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Really, there's little of significance we don't already know on the Medicaid expansion issue. It will save Arkansas's existing Medicaid program. It will expand it to many more people at no cost to the state for three years. It will save numerous Arkansas hospitals, nursing homes and clinics. Down the line, it will cost the state at least 10 percent of the total cost, but no one can be sure of costs way down the road, not with docs, insurance companies and drug companies scrabbling for every dollar they can grab. Democrats generally think this is a cost worth paying.
As a matter of principle, Republicans generally oppose expansion of government health programs. Many of them would reduce or eliminate those already in place.
Months of delay, committee obstructionism and Koch propaganda don't change the simple parameters of the debate.
Call the roll. Now, not later.