by Max Brantley
As written, the bill would be devastating to Arkansas, both in a loss of coverage for tens of thousands of Arkansan and in a body blow to the state budget of a Boozman political ally, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Boozman also is an optometrist by trade, so might have some feeling for what loss of the money would mean to the health care industry.
With Congress set to return on Monday after a week’s recess, Republican lawmakers are increasingly aware that their seven-year promise to dismantle President Barack Obama’s largest policy achievement is deeply imperiled. Senator John Hoeven, Republican of North Dakota, signaled this week that he would not vote for the bill as written, following negative remarks from other senators with large poor and rural populations. That was the 10th defection.
Three other Republican senators, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and John Boozman of Arkansas, have withheld their support, although they have not declared their opposition, and others have largely remained silent.
In small counties, rural hospitals and other health care providers are often the largest employers, and after years of railing against Mr. Obama’s law, Republican senators are now grappling with the impact of its possible demise.Yup. And thus we have an Arkansas governor desperately trying to hang onto one of the biggest expansions of government services ever, though putting