Little Rock Being a commuter these days between New Orleans and Little Rock, it is interesting to watch the convolutions that Arkansas and its legislature are going through to try and fashion a partnership with the federal government to run the health care exchange option under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) aka Obamacare. Time is ticking on the clock but they are at least making an effort to make it happen with fur flying.
All of which is a good deal better than the intransience that Governor Jindal represents by standing foolishly at the hospital clinic door keeping 400,000 eligible low income people from the participation that could save their lives. There was even a squib in the Louisiana papers last week that the governor was at least looking at what they were trying in Arkansas with interest. More spin, who knows? Mike Stagg, an old comrade from ACORN partnerships, and a longtime Democratic Party activist in Louisiana from Lafayette, has organized Forward Louisiana adding some kneecappers and spitkickers to the board including the former head of the Louisiana Association of NonProfits and a representative of A Community Voice. An ad in the newspaper and a picture of a demonstration qua press conference got them front page coverage in the Baton Rouge Advocate, so in Louisiana (finally!) this tragic political decision will have a cost and is now facing real opposition. People will know who did what, when and to whom.
I should add “maybe.” Robert Pear writing in the Times shared some startlingly sad stats about how few potential beneficiaries of Obamacare know or understand the score and how successfully Congressional Republicans are delaying outreach and implementation, and how quickly Congressional Democrats are rolling over, rather than fighting. Ugh!
But in its latest poll, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that two-thirds of the uninsured said they did not have enough information to understand how the law would affect them. Public opinion remains deeply divided, with 40 percent of Americans having an unfavorable view of the law and 37 percent holding a favorable view. The administration says 41 million people may be eligible for new insurance options. Of that number, 28 million live in states where the federal government will be running the exchanges, by itself or in partnership with state officials. One-fifth of those eligible have not graduated from high school. Congress turned down a request from the administration for an additional $949 million to set up the exchanges and help people enroll. Republicans opposed the request, and Democrats did not push for it.
Talking to community organizations and unions, like Local 100, in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and other states, there is queue of folks that want to rollup their sleeves and make sure the word is out, but so far we are shouting to ourselves. We need to increase the volume so that it reaches every ear!