Arkansas may become the first red state to accept the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, which the Supreme Court made optional in its decision last year, if the Department of Health and Human Services accepts its privatized plan.
(Of course, the states turning down Medicaid expansion are generally the ones that need it most.)
The notion of expanding government to improve health care outcomes apparently drove Chris Nogy of the Benton County Republican Committee a little nutty. In a recent newsletter, he encouraged his fellow Republicans to seek “Second Amendment” solutions against those who had voted for for the expansion, and expressed dismay that he can’t actually back up these threats:
We need to let those who will come in the future to represent us [know] that we are serious. The 2nd amendment means nothing unless those in power believe you would have no problem simply walking up and shooting them if they got too far out of line and stopped responding as representatives. It seems that we are unable to muster that belief in any of our representatives on a state or federal level, but we have to have something, something costly, something that they will fear that we will use if they step out of line. If we can’t shoot them, we have to at least be firm in our threat to take immediate action against them politically, socially, and civically if they screw up on something this big. Personally, I think a gun is quicker and more merciful, but hey, we can’t.
Nogy’s wife is the group’s secretary and she claims the article was placed in the newsletter without her husband’s approval.
Medicaid expansion will provide health insurance for up to 250,000 Arkansans, ultimately saving dozens if not hundreds of lives, while driving down the costs of the state’s insured — who already subsidize the uninsured through higher rates.
Most of Arkansas’ estimated uninsured 401,100 are working families who simply can’t afford coverage.
Several Arkansas Republicans made it clear that they were appalled by Nogy’s comments.
“I’m embarrassed for the Benton County Republican Committee for including this article in their newsletter,” said State Senator Jon Woods (R). “I would think the Benton County Committee would have better judgment and not allow this to be sent out.”
The Benton County Republican Committee offered a statement:
“The letter was not approved and Mr. Nogy had no authority to submit it through the newsletter. As a committee, we respect the right of our legislators to vote based on their knowledge and feedback from the voters they represent. We will discuss this issue further with our executive committee.”