FIRM 'NO': Rep. Josh Miller, a significant beneficairy of Medicaid himself, is firmly opposed to expansion of Medicaid coverage in Arkansas.
It is a race to the bottom among the aginners on Medicaid expansion for mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation.
But Rep. Josh Miller
is in the trophy hunt.
We've written about Miller before
. Left paralyzed by an alcohol fueled wreck 13 years ago, he's been helped back to a productive place in society with significant government and charitable help. Medicaid paid most of a $1 million hospital and rehab bill. Miller was uninsured (a condition that had forced him to go untreated from injuries in an earlier fist fight). His disability means he's a continuing beneficiary of government health coverage and other assistance, including daily personal care. Now, in addition to taxpayer payments of his legislative salary and federal benefits he's in the rental real estate business, where his clients have included people who receive federal rent subsidies.
You might think Josh Miller would be more sympathetic. But he's one of many in the House apparently willing to see an end to all Medicaid services — benefiting everyone from children to the elderly in nursing homes — rather than accept federal dollars that have given 267,000 people health coverage under the private option version of Medicaid expansion enabled by Obamacare. This is, by the way, health coverage that Miller enjoys by virtue of a drunken joy ride that turned tragic. It would have been available to him had he not gone on to get a job.
He wrote a post on his Facebook
page defending his opposition to Medicaid expansion, even with the governor's amendments.
The private option has been a "disaster," he wrote. He claims that made it more difficult for recipients of traditional Medicaid to get services.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson's idea to make able-bodied recipients go to job training is no comfort to Miller. It will probably just amount to passing out a "pamphlet" on where to go to get training to get a job. He wrote:
"I'm sure this training will include instructions like these:
A. Set your alarm
B. Get out of bed
C. Get dressed
D. Go look for a job
E. If offered a job, take it
F. Do you best to do your job.
G. Repeat steps A, B, C and F every day of your employment.
I am not kidding about this. My feeling is that these adults (who are able bodied and healthy but are earning $00.00 don't want a job. Many of them have it figured out that they can stay unemployed and have their needs met by those who do believe in the principles of hard work. I"m sure that their lifestyle isn't what they might want it to be but, hey — they don't have to work 40+ hours a week to make ends meet like the taxpayers do. I honestly don't mind helping people who are trying to help themselves but I have a hard time giving the fruits of hard labor to those who CHOOSE to sit at home and do nothing.
Working people are among the beneficiaries, FYI
A $19 monthly premium for recipients, as the governor has proposed, also doesn't assuage Miller. He thinks they won't pay.
"I have a problem with deficit spending in general and I dang sure have a problem seeing insurance companies continue to make millions of dollars that my grandchildren will have to pay back to China. Maybe my tone would be a little softer if some of these insurance companies were giving Arkansas a break but they're not. ....This is a bad deal for the taxpayers and unsustainable for the state of AR and the nation."
It's the old story. A fellow who got a substantial hand up the ladder to self-sufficiency wants to tromp on the fingers of the people coming up behind him.
PS: And how could I forget that Josh Miller is also self-serving. Details here from Blue Hog
on how he changed the law to be sure that, no matter how much money he might make from his rental business, it wouldn't affect his ability to keep drawing federal assistance payments.