Last week, I wrote a post about Josh Miller (Not All Needy People Are As Deserving As Others), a young Republican state legislator from Heber Springs, Arkansas. Miller, who was paralyzed more than a decade ago in a catastrophic car accident, has been able to live a productive life due to the medical benefits he has received from both Medicare and Medicaid. Yet, this young state senator has spoken out against Medicaid expansion in Arkansas. Some of us find his stance on this issue to be hypocritical.
This past Tuesday, lawmakers in Arkansas voted to continue allowing the state “to use Medicaid dollars to buy private health-care insurance for poorer residents, overcoming resistance from some Republicans who said the program amounted to an endorsement of the Affordable Care Act.” According to the Wall Street Journal, Arkansas became the first state “to offer a ‘private option’ to extend coverage to lower-income residents…” Supporters of the program saw the private option “as a way to accept federal dollars and cut the number of uninsured residents without enlarging Medicaid.”
Matt Campbell of Blue Hog Report said that when he heard about the legislature’s vote to fund the private option for another fiscal year he “halfheartedly hoped that the extra ‘yes’ vote might have been Rep. Josh Miller.” Such was not the case however. What Campbell said he finds most hypocritical and troubling about Miller’s “no” vote on the private option is that the young lawmaker actually used his position as a legislator “to make blatantly self-serving changes to the Medicaid law” which would make it easier for him to get the same coverage that he “would deny to others.” Campbell says that Miller was a main sponsor in 2013 of Act 1048. That Act changes how Arkansas law defines a person’s eligibility for receiving Medicaid.
Eligibility prior to ACT 1048:
an individual who meets the disability assets and unearned income standards to receive supplemental security income, who would be considered to be receiving supplemental security income benefits but for his or her earned income, and whose net combined family income is less than two hundred fifty percent (250%) of the federal poverty guideline. Miller’s bill eligibility change:
How Miller’s bill would change eligibility:
an individual who meets the disability assets and unearned income standards to receive supplemental security income, who would be considered to be receiving supplemental security income benefits but for his or her earned income
, and whose net combined family income is less than two hundred fifty percent (250%) of the federal poverty guideline.
Campbell claimed that “while lawmakers and policy wonks were arguing over the propriety of expanding Medicaid in general to include non-disabled adults making up to 138% of the federal poverty line, Rep. Miller was working to ensure that, no matter how much money he might make, he could never lose his sweet, sweet government-funded insurance.” Campbell said that Miller didn’t stop at that, though. He said that Act 1048 also changes “Arkansas Code Annotated 20-77-1204 regarding the administration of Medicaid for ‘Low-Income Disabled Working Persons.’” He said Miller’s bill also added 1204(c), which states:
A rule adopted under this section shall not include a test for income, assets, or resources.
Campbell added that while 1204(b)(2) “explicitly requires DHS to adopt rules that establish ‘premium and cost-sharing charges on a sliding scale based on income’… thanks to Rep. Miller, DHS cannot actually include any kind of means testing in those rules…”
It certainly does appear that Josh Miller thinks that not all needy people in Arkansas are as deserving of Medicaid benefits as is he. It appears that he truly is a hypocrite too.
~ Submitted by Elaine Magliaro
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The Disgustingly Self-Serving Hypocrisy of Rep. Josh Miller (Blue Hog Report)