by RPA Staff
It’s been less than 2 months since Senator Mark Pryor doubled-down on his support for Obamacare on KARK’s Capitol View, saying that not only would he not vote to repeal the law, but also saying he thought Obamacare was “good for Arkansas.”
Since that appearance, things have gotten worse each and every day for Pryor and the legislation he provided the 60th vote to pass. Let’s revisit this week’s “Top 3” Obamacare developments as they relate to Mark Pryor. We’ve even helped you out by ranking them in order of importance.
3. Pryor Flip-Flops on IPAB
IPAB is the acronym for the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel of un-elected, unaccountable bureaucrats created under Obamacare that is charged with instituting cost savings in Medicare. The measure is extremely controversial and has come under heavy criticism by conservatives because it gives too much power to Washington bureaucrats to decide which services Americans will and will not receive under Medicare, which could ultimately lead to rationing of care.
We’re all used to Mark Pryor flip-flopping, as he has on abortion, concealed carry, and the so-called “assault weapons ban.” But to flip-flop on a key provision of Obamacare is a shocker – even for Mark Pryor.
Pryor voted for Obamacare’s passage in 2009, knowing that it contained the IPAB provision. A year later (2010), he voted to block an attempt to remove the IPAB provision from the law. As recently as last year, Pryor publicly defended IPAB, telling Democrat-Gazette reporter Alex Daniels that before it, people were “at the mercy of private insurance companies.” (You can read all Pryor’s background on IPAB here)
But Pryor has now flipped on the issue. On July 11, Pryor voted for an amendment by Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) that would have defunded IPAB, thereby leading to its elimination. Why has Pryor flip-flopped on a key provision of Obamacare? Here’s how Pryor defends his flip-flop to the Democrat-Gazette:
“In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Pryor said Congressional Budget Office projections on the panel that were released in March convinced him that it wouldn’t necessarily save money. The projections showed that the panel would not result in any savings in the next 10 years. Earlier projections estimated $15 billion in savings over the first decade of its existence.”
So did Mark Pryor have a “Road to Damascus” moment – realizing how unworkable Obamacare really is? Or is this simply more election-year posturing from a politician who knows he’s on thin ice with the voters? Either way, it doesn’t reflect very well on Senator Pryor.
2. Pryor’s Claim About “Obamacare rebate checks” gets blown up by the AP’s Fact-Checker
Obamacare is becoming SO unpopular that its supporters are desperately grasping for straws to convince Americans it’s good for them. That’s why President Obama gave another highly-advertised speech to sell his healthcare boondoggle for the 10,000th time. But in his speech, the President again misled the American people by repeating false and misleading claims that roughly 8 ½ million Americans would be receiving rebate checks (averaging $100 each) from insurance companies who spent too much on administrative expenses, as Obamacare requires.
Problem is: it’s not quite that simple. Here’s what the Associated Press’ fact-checker had to say about that claim:
“The health care law requires insurance companies that spend too much on administrative expenses to issue rebates to customers. But those customers are often employers that in turn offer insurance to workers and bear the bulk of the costs. In workplace plans, the rebate goes to the employer, which must use it for the company health plan but does not have to pass all or part of it on to the worker. People who buy their own insurance and qualify for a rebate get it directly…Of the 12.8 million rebates announced last year, health policy experts estimated 3 million would go directly to the insured.”
So how does this concern Mark Pryor? We’re so glad you asked. You see, Pryor has been trumpeting the same misleading and false statements about Obamacare’s “rebate checks” on his official Facebook page. Below is a screen shot of one such post from June 11 where Pryor repeats the same Obama mantra about rebate checks.
As if flip-flopping on IPAB wasn’t bad enough, the Pryor/Obama claim about rebate checks was blown out of the water, thanks so some good investigative journalism by the Associated Press.
3. Baptist Health Lays Off 170 Workers, Blames Mark Pryor’s Vote for Obamacare
We’ve all seen the headlines about Obamacare’s broken promises and job-killing consequences, but when that news hits close to home, it puts a face on the problem. This week, Little Rock-based Baptist Health announced it was laying off 170 employees here in Arkansas.
Why are they laying off these employees? We’ll let you read their statement and you can decide for yourself:
“We are undertaking a number of initiatives that will position our organization to address the challenges of health reform and severe federal budget cuts… In a difficult and challenging environment of substantially less government reimbursement, burdensome government regulations, rapidly rising costs of supplies, increasing charity care and bad debt, and the need for technology and medical innovations, we believe these efforts will serve to make Baptist Health more effective.”
Does that sound like Obamacare to you? Here’s the list of reasons Baptist Health provides:
- “To address the challenges of health reform” (i.e. Obamacare)
- “Substantially less government reimbursement” (Obamacare guts Medicare to pay for its programs)
- “Burdensome government regulations” (Obamacare’s 20,000 page tower of red tape)
- “Rapidly rising costs of supplies” (Obamacare contains a 2.3% surcharge/tax on medical devices)
Senator Pryor is quick to step forward and claim credit any time something good happens (just look at the press releases on his website). But will he accept the blame now that Arkansas families are getting handed the pink slip because of his vote for Obamacare? We doubt it, which is why voters will have to give HIM the pink slip in 2014.