A legislative committee squabbled today on whether Arkansas should spend $4.5 million in federal money to advertise the Arkansas hybrid of Obamacare authorized by the 2013 legislature, along with other new insurance available under the federal law.
Every vote on anything related to the Affordable Care Act has been made a proxy for Obama hatred by the teabaggers, so the proposal failed to get a favorable “review.” The Beebe administration should go ahead and implement the already-agreed contract and spend the money. Legislative veto of such administrative action is, in legal theory, unconstitutional. But the Republicans have grown adept at bullying and the administration may not wish to cross them on this, much as it folded on the unconstitutional legislative ban on allowing Planned Parenthood to help people sign up. One of the biggest bullies, Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, as much as told Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford that he can’t spend the money he already has in hand unless the legislature says so.
Meanwhile, others are taking up the work.
Here, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola provides a useful Q&A on the coming new insurance options.
UPDATE: From legislative tweets, it became clear that Republican Rep. John Burris, one of the fathers of the Arkobamacare, advocated adoption of the advertising. Pushback came from ‘baggers such as Republican Rep. Justin Harris, who called Burris a liar at one point. Good. Let’s you and him fight.
If Congress doesn’t fold to the economic terorrists in the Republican Party, the working poor in Arkansas will have insurance in unprecedented numbers. But take heart terrorists, you have allies in the Arkansas legislature who fight to the death to be sure those needy people don’t hear about it.
I wish the Koch-backed teabaggers who dreamed up lots of diversionary questions on advertising Obamacare would have been so watchful of the $220,000 Bruce Westerman wasted on a cookie-cutter ideological tract from a Yankee consultant bent on privatizing Medicaid.
For the record: The vote to give a favorable review to the ad spending failed, 15-26. What now? Lots of ways the money could be spent anyway. And should be. It might even be that Republicans hope the governor shows some brass. Burris, I’m told by Benji Hardy, gave an eloquent speech on why the contract should be favorably approved. Then voted against it.