by Max Brantley
Rep. Ed Garner has put off plans to seek Senate committee approval Wednesday of his tax break for rich people. The drum-beating from Koch brother lobbyists indicates the new priority is Sen. Missy Irvin's bill to hamstring federal health care reform. Shades of interposition, it asserts that the federal government can't direct state officials to administer a federal program. (I presume the language is lifted whole from a Republican/Koch think tank somewhere.) It says a state agency must be legislatively authorized to do anything. Even if authority exists, the bill imposes a whole range of requirements, including cost estimates, for each specific program.
This is what the 'baggers would otherwise call an unfunded mandate. Irvin would waste a significant amount of state time and money, all in the name of standing in the way of delivery of more health care to more Arkansans.
She might have the votes in the Senate. The House? It might face a tougher committee there.
That same committee may get a crack at another dangerous piece of Irvin legislation. She opposes a woman's right to choose an abortion and is doing all she can to make the practice unobtainable in Arkansas. One is legislation aimed at ending drug-induced abortions here. She cloaks this anti-abortion bill in concern about the side effects of the drug used (is there a drug that doesn't have potential side effects and isn't always accompanied by sufficient patient and physician consideration, from antibiotics to Viagra?). But by piling burdensome requirements on physicians and clinics — along with numerous reporting requirements — she's intending to stop the prescription of this drug in Arkansas. She evinces no similar concern for inspections, reporting, hospital admitting privileges and all the rest for all the other drugs out there. Or maybe her legislation should include the recent British medical recommendation that women be counseled that abortion is safer than childbirth.