An Open Letter To the House of Representatives (Editorial)

You know our feelings on the private option. Like everything in life, and especially everything in politics, it is imperfect. But at this point in history, the private option is the best, indeed the only, path toward getting health insurance for hundreds of thousands of the working poor of our state.

Because of the imperfections in life and politics, the private option is also a vital lifeline for making sure that hospitals and other providers in our state receive enough revenue to keep the doors open and health care workers employed. Some parts of the state will become deathtraps if local hospitals are not available to respond to emergencies.

These are the realities that a small number of you, barely more than a quarter of your ranks, are choosing for the rest of us. Incredibly, for these few legislators, being anti-Obamacare has become more important than being pro-life, pro-health, pro-work and pro-Arkansas. We hate to think it, but it almost seems that personally avoiding a political primary in which you might be accused of cooperating with the enemy has become more important than bringing hundreds of millions of dollars into our state. What else can you possibly vote on that will be a greater, more immediate economic boon to Arkansas and to the people who most need help?

Like you, we would prefer to see an Arkansas so overflowing with good-paying jobs that everyone willing to work could afford health insurance for himself, or herself, and the whole family. We would prefer a world in which “working poor” is an oxymoron because no one who works would be poor.

But that day is not today. Today thousands of working Arkansans will need medical care they cannot afford. Today you can assure them at least one more year of health insurance.