Governor to release budget. Suddenly, what about Obamacare? | Arkansas Blog

Governor to release budget. Suddenly, what about Obamacare?


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Gov. Asa Hutchinson will release his budget for the next fiscal year at a legislative committee meeting this morning and then talk to reporters in the afternoon.

This is for the year beginning July 1. There's little Congress can do in the waning weeks of this year to upend planned federal outlays on which the governor's budget depends.

But, whoa.

Suddenly, the repeal of Obamacare by a Republican president and Congress — particularly given its clear role in election voting decisions — suddenly is a very real and present danger for the not-distant future.

Hutchinson's first budgets and the next count on hundreds of millions in Medicaid money. It not only shores up the larger budget, but it creates jobs and tax income that further enriches the state.

Dreams of further tax cutting on the back of Obamacare riches would — today — look like a risky bet for the state of Arkansas.

Also, more Tea Party-type politicians will be serving in the legislature next year. Even without the national developments, Hutchinson might have been looking at a harder fight to preserve the Obamacare/Private Option/Arkansas Works version of Medicaid expansion.

Governors like Hutchinson would love one replacement solution — a block grant to the states that could be used to help Republican governors while shrinking dramatically the number of poor people served with health coverage. So what? They don't vote. Or at least not in great enough numbers to be a political concern.


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