Sen. Terry Rice wants to end the private option Medicaid expansion, taking health insurance away from 275,000 Arkansans. One of the main reasons, he says, is that accepting the federal money to continue the policy will add to the national debt (in practice, the decision in Arkansas on whether to continue the private option has no meaningful impact on the national debt).
Rice feels strongly on this point. He feels strongly on this point despite the fact that continuing the Medicaid expansion in Arkansas amounts to less than a rounding error in terms of the national debt (around 0.0004 percent if you’re scoring at home), and despite the fact that he’s all too happy to accept federal money for all sorts of other things.
He feels so strongly that he came up with a handy analogy. Continuing the Medicaid expansion is kind of like…slavery.
Said Rice: “We are enslaving future generations, our children and grandchildren — to debt that we are irresponsibly putting on their credit card. That to me is … unbiblical.”
Sen. Stephanie Flowers felt otherwise. “I would never vote for a bill that enslaved anybody,” she said. “I don’t think that’s what we’re doing when we’re providing health care for the poorest Americans. I have a serious problem with that kind of statement. Humanity dictates that we ought to give people an opportunity to have a healthy lifestyle. That’s not enslavement. I’m willing to have my son, and any grandchild, help somebody out when they’re sick.”
Support for special health care reporting made possible by the Arkansas Public Policy Panel.