by Max Brantley
Republican opposition to Medicaid expansion ... special Medicaid audit ... allegations that the audit was rigged to aid the anti-Medicaid cause ...
Indeed. The theme is coming from North Carolina. But it certainly encourages a pre-existing suspicion that the special Medicaid audit guided by Republican legislators in Arkansas follows a template devised by Obamacare opponents for use nationally.
It's true that in North Carolina Republicans had already imposed cuts on the Medicaid program without providing tools to meet those cuts. When the budget proved insufficient (Arkansas, it's well-known, is already spending surplus and stimulus money to overcome a shortage in dedicated Medicaid money), North Carolina Republicans howled that Medicaid was overspending. Might our special audit prove that Medicaid here is also running in the red? Shazam!
It's pretty well clear that Arkansas Republicans have devised a scheme to use a well-spun audit to argue against Medicaid expansion, as has happened in North Carolina. Proven new efficiency measures won't matter. Medical needs of tens of thousands of Arkansans won't matter. The Koch Bros. and ALEC have spoken. Government must be strangled. Except, of course, in special cases when 40 cents on every public dollar spent will line the pockets of the Kochs (Big River Steel Mill state subsidy), who will then turn a portion of it over to Teresa Oelke and Americans for Prosperity to defeat Democrats and elect Republicans who proclaim themselves "free market" champions. (That many of these Republican champions are unemployed and living off the the teat of public/lobby pay, perks and health insurance is another small irony.)