Senator Eddie Joe Williams sent a mailer to voters saying: “False Attacks Don’t Work. Eddie Joe Williams has ALWAYS opposed ObamaCare.” On the other side of the campaign mailer Governor Asa Hutchinson lent his voice to that of Senator Williams’ saying he wouldn’t support a candidate who supports Obamacare and he endorses Senator Eddie Joe Williams.
Shouldn’t that settle the matter for voters? NOT SO FAST! Sadly, their words have been parsed in a way to give voters a false impression.
As they use “oppose” – an Arkansas politician can claim to “oppose” Obamacare. yet vote for EVERY part of Obamacare that can’t be imposed in Arkansas without Arkansas’ approval. It seems a politician could claim to “oppose” Obamacare despite not wanting to repeal of Obamacare, until it is replaced with another big government program. This is NOT how the public thinks of being “OPPOSED TO” something.
The same deceptive tactics being used for Senator Williams’ campaign are being used by other Obamacare Medicaid Expansion supporters, such as Senator Jane English, and Representative Jana Della Rosa.
TO BE ACCURATE about Senator Eddie Joe Williams record: Even if Senator Eddie Joe Williams has negative thoughts toward the federal law known as “Obamacare,” Senator Williams has supported Obamacare by voting for EVERY part of Obamacare that couldn’t be imposed in Arkansas without state approval!
Senator Williams voted to adopt Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion in Arkansas, voted to keep it funded, and voted to create a taskforce to recommend how to continue it.[i] He also voted to authorize Arkansas to take the risk of creating a state run Obamacare Exchange.[ii]
Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion. Currently Arkansas calls its Obamacare Medicaid Expansion the “Private Option” and Governor Hutchinson wants to continue Medicaid Expansion with the new name “Arkansas Works” even though you can’t require beneficiaries to work. Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion provides health entitlements to a segment of the population that is overwhelmingly able bodied working age adults with NO dependents. It is estimated that 46% of those eligible do not work at all – not part-time, seasonal, or anything.[iii] After years, about 2/5ths of the states are still fighting Obamacare by not passing Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion.
Arkansas’ adoption of Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion sent a mixed message to Arkansas’ congressional delegation on whether the Arkansas politicians actually want to end Obamacare or to embrace it. When Arkansas became the first southern state to adopt Medicaid Expansion it encouraged Obamacare supporters across the country.
Some politicians think you can “Oppose Obamacare” but not be for repealing it! Governor Hutchinson stopped short of saying this, but his response illustrates the possibility of this argument.
Everybody thinks it’s inconsistent to oppose Obamacare at the national level but then participate in Medicaid expansion. You can make that argument if you wish, but obviously if they do away and make changes with Obamacare at the national level then they’re going to have to find replacements and solutions to address what all the states are doing and give more flexibility to the states. [iv] (emphasis added)
When you hear “oppose Obamacare” do you think of replacing it with another big government program or perhaps embracing the parts Arkansas could not be forced to accept?
Politicians are making us wonder what they mean when they claim to “oppose” Obamacare. We deserve better from of our politicians than the parsing of words and the distorting meanings in order to fool the public into voting for them.
[i] HB1143 & SB2010 of 2013, SB111 of 2014, and SB96 of 2015
[ii] HB1508 of 2013
[iii] Foundation for Governmental Accountability calculation from census data