Arkansas: A beacon for Obamacare | Arkansas Blog

Arkansas: A beacon for Obamacare


SHOUTOUT FOR ARKANSAS: From Aprill Blanco of Louisiana.
  • SHOUTOUT FOR ARKANSAS: From Aprill Blanco of Louisiana.
I picked up the New Orleans edition of the Baton Rouge-based Advocate yesterday and found this letter to editor amid the news coverage of the destruction Gov. Bobby Jindal is doing to health, education and other services in Louisiana.

Arkansas shows Louisiana folly

That was the headline. There followed a long and detailed letter from a Shreveport woman that said, in part:

Arkansas' Republican legislature initially opposed Obamacare. However, both parties struck a bipartisan compromise expected to pay dividends in health and economic outcomes.

So what did Arkansas do? Arkansas created a federal-state partnership exchange that will create jobs and expand private-sector opportunities ....

... By 2016, a Rand study shows that Arkansas will have 400,000 newly insured residents, a GDP increase of $500 million and 6,200 new jobs. Due to increased insurance coverage, the uncompensated care burden will no longer impose a hidden tax to consumers through higher rates and premiums. The system will eventually level out, reversing skyrocketing healthcare trends of the past decade. Fewer Arkansas families will suffer personal bankruptcy because of health-care costs, and expenses will become more reasonable as chronic diseases are better-managed. Small businesses and employers will enjoy a healthier, more productive workforce with less absenteeism. Cost savings to the state will offset costs associated with the expansion.

All that could come true — IF Tom Cotton, Tim Griffin, the Tea Party, the Kochs, etc., aren't successful in their frenzied last-ditch hysterical opposition to implementation. The New York Times editorializes here on the crisis the Republicans have built.

The letter, from Aprill Springfield Blanco, reads a bit like a prepared script from an interest group. Not surprising. The paper didn't identify her, but a quick web check indicates  she now works for a government consulting group after a stint as a senior adviser in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She's a Georgetown-educated lawyer, daughter-in-law of former Gov. Kathleen Blanco and a former staff member for Sen. Hillary Clinton. 

Still: Isn't it nice for Arkansas to get some positive press outside its borders for progressive social policy?

A big thankyou to the Republicans who helped make Arkansas a standard-bearer for Obamacare. 

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