by Max Brantley
“The insurance has really, really, really helped me, and it’s something that’s really weighed heavy on my mind. What’s going to happen with it?” she said Thursday. “I’m hoping the new president-elect will keep the people that really, really need it. Well, I think everybody needs it, to be honest.”For six years, virtually every Republican politician from Big Rock constable to U.S. Senate made defeating everything Barack Obama stood for, but particularly his Affordable Care Act, the cornerstone of their rise to greater power in Arkansas. Why the surprise and fear on the part of those who voted for them? The article has an answer — the Kenyan.
Pleas like Bacon’s show why it will be tricky for Donald Trump and his congressional allies to fulfil their promise to quickly “repeal and replace” President Barack Obama’s polarizing health law — at least without some chest pains and heart palpitations. Ending the Affordable Care Act risks an uproar from a chunk of their own base.
“The ‘Unaffordable’ Care Act will soon be history!” Trump wrote on Twitter on Friday.Gov. Asa Hutchinson certainly does not. People like Sen. Tom Cotton? I wouldn't be so sure.
Yet in states Trump won alone, Obamacare has helped millions of people get life-altering — sometimes life-saving — care. Some of them are the same struggling white-working-class voters Trump pledged to champion. A central part of Obamacare is aimed at the working poor: the expansion of Medicaid, a government insurance program for low-income people.Obamacare caused the Arkansas uninsured rate to plummet from 23 per cent to 10 per cent between 2013 and 2015, one of the biggest drops in the country, according to Gallup. More than 330,000 Arkansans, a giant 11 per cent of the state population, have gained insurance through the state’s customized version of the Medicaid expansion.
When Arkansans were polled in 2014 for their views on that Medicaid expansion — “Arkansas Works,” which uses federal money to buy private insurance for most of the newly eligible — 48 per cent said it should be continued, 33 per cent said it should be ended. But when the pollster asked the question with the word “Obamacare” in it, support fell to 35 per cent while opposition rose to 39 per cent.
In other words, what some of them appear to dislike is not what the law actually does but who passed it. Such results, replicated in other red states, suggest that even some Arkansans who oppose “Obamacare” do not necessarily want to abandon the components of the Affordable Care Act.