Tom Cotton gives of himself in measured doses to news media — generally in places far removed from open media scrums in Little Rock. But he still can’t help himself from telling the truth once in a while.
It happened in Magnolia. And the Magnolia Reporter was on hand with a tape recorder when Cotton was asked about that Gallup report that showed Arkansas led the country in moving people to health insurance since the advent of the Arkansas legislature-approved version of the Medicaid expansion enabled and financed by Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act.
Get a load of what Cotton said, as reported by Greg Sargent at the Washington Post:
I haven’t seen that poll. But the thing about Obamacare is, it no doubt helped some people. But think about all the people it hurt and the ways it hurt them. It caused people to have insurance cancelled. It drove up the cost of their health insurance premiums or it cost them access to their doctor or imposed new taxes it caused them to lose their job or have their hours cut…we should repeal Obamacare and start over.” So, yeah, the law might have helped somebody, somewhere, but it’s destroyed many more people. Yet the data make it hard to argue that the problem of cancellations, at least, outweighs the benefit of new enrollees. After all, the Gallup poll found that the rate of uninsured in Arkansas dropped from 22.5 percent in 2013 to 12.4 now.
Sargent’s commentary continues:
What’s more, today we learned that thanks to the Arkansas version of the Medicaid expansion, nearly 200,000 people gained health coverage, which is no doubt partly responsible for the steep drop in the uninsured rate. So it’s worth reiterating once again that while Cotton continues to call for repeal of Obamacare, he won’t take a position on the direct question of whether the state’s Medicaid expansion should be going forward.
And let me remind you again that Tom Cotton — who continues, like Asa Hutchinson, to dodge a direct response on Arkansas’s Medicaid expansion — employs as a paid staffer state Rep. John Burris, who was a chief architect of the plan, despite being a Republican. Burris even was defeated in a race for state Senate on account of his work. Maybe if Tom Cotton had manned up and gone to Baxter County to talk about the amazing piece of bipartisan work John Burris had done and the enormous benefits it had brought to 200,000 Arkansans it would have gone for Burris and raised some estimations of Cotton in the process.
Sen. Mark Pryor, believe it or not, is owning up to some responsibility for all this. Sargent reports
In a statement, Pryor spokesman Erik Dorey responded to Cotton — and the Gallup survey and new Medicaid news — this way:
“While he’s always said the law isn’t perfect, the fact is nearly 200,000 Arkansans now know the comfort and security of quality health care, thanks to a policy Senator Pryor supported and was successfully implemented in Arkansas. Congressman Cotton’s irresponsible rhetoric now has to come to grips with the reality that what he’s proposing would take away economic security from one in 10 Arkansans.”
Could Obamacare become a PLUS in Arkansas? You couldn’t tell it from any Republican campaign.
But we can dream, can’t we?
UPDATE: The Democratic Party of Arkansas has posted the video snippet of Cotton evading a question about the good numbers on Obamacare in Arkansas as part of an ad suggesting the party has about to decided what I’ve said all along was the only option — if you’re going to be pounded on Obamacare anyway, why not own it? Now, particularly, when the numbers keep looking up?