When the Affordable Care Act was first approved, the law's Republican critics made a series of predictions about failure and catastrophe. Just about every one of those predictions turned out to be wrong.
But in fairness, there is one thing GOP officials said that turned out to be correct. The right argued -- it was more a fear than a predication -- that once "Obamacare" was in place, and American families and consumers came to rely on the system's benefits, it would be awfully difficult, if not impossible, for Republicans to simply take those benefits away. And five years later, that sounds about right.
In Arkansas, for example, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), soon after taking office earlier this year, had to decide whether to scrap the state's Medicaid-expansion policy. The Republican was vague on the issue during his 2014 campaign, but in January, Hutchinson announced he wanted to see the policy remain in place, at least for a while, to prevent public suffering.
Yesterday, as the Arkansas News reported, the governor suggested he's prepared to make the policy permanent.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday he is open to continuing to accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion if the federal government grants the state increased flexibility in shaping its health-care programs.
"As governor, I will accept the continued expansion dollars from the federal government if we can achieve the (Medicaid) waivers that are needed," Hutchinson told a joint meeting of the Health Reform Legislative Task Force and the Governor's Advisory Council on Medicaid Reform.
In fairness, the governor has a whole bunch of ideas about how to make the policy as conservative as possible, but there's no getting around the fact that Hutchinson has no interest in scrapping Arkansas' Medicaid expansion.
"We're a compassionate state. We're not going to leave 220,000 without some recourse, without some access to care," he said.
Exactly. That's the point.