Want to see what it looks like when state government really wants to fight the feds vs. when they only pretend to want to? Compare the response to new regulations on coal to expanding Medicaid under Obamacare.
The background on this story is that the EPA is getting very aggressive in mandating that all coal-fired electrical plants switch to cleaner alternatives such as natural gas. Arkansas is heavily dependent on coal fired plants and would be one of if not the hardest state hit by the new regulations. In other words, complying with this edict would cost many Arkansas interests a great deal of money – including regular utility users like you and me.
Arkansas responded by joining other states in suing the Feds. The New York Times reports that federal judges have agreed to block implementation of the regulation until the June 2nd hearing. This is unprecedented. In the past courts have deferred to the regulators in the Executive branch until the actual hearing. This is a sign of how hard the states are fighting these regulations, as well as the extent of possible regulatory over-reach.
Compare this fight to the “fight” Arkansas state government has put up over Obamacare. In the case of Obamacare, state government and certain interests lose money if Medicaid is not expanded. The feds take money from Arkansans, borrow a bunch more, and then offer that extra money to the state if the state will expand Medicaid. Many citizens know in their gut that Obamacare is unsustainable, that they are paying more so that some able-bodied adult can get a free ride, and that their children will inherit the bill for the rest in debt. They don’t want it, so the politicians (Republicans in particular) put up a show like they were against it. They changed the name and added a couple of wrinkles to confuse the issue and pretend that it changed in some fundamental way what their constituents were objected to. It didn’t.
The ruling class in Arkansas wanted the money. That’s the bottom line. It is no wonder the state made little to no effort to verify the eligibility of “Private” Option participants. The state and certain special interests got more money for everyone who signed up, eligible or not. No need to worry about fraud until it was the state’s time to pay a share of the bills. That is why I asked the question “Is Arkansas’Ruling Class Involved in Welfare Fraud on a Massive Scale?”
The bottom line is that in the first example FEDGOV is doing something that punished both the citizens of Arkansas and cost the State Government (as an entity with interests separate from the people it serves) money. It also cost connected special interests in Arkansas money. Because of that, the state political class is REALLY fighting that battle. With Medicaid expansion, not only is 5% of the population (able bodied adults who are not working or working the lowest wages) getting their health care paid for by the next generation, but state government gets money from Uncle Sugar to hand out to the ruling class and special interests. To placate outraged voters who don’t want their children and grand children to be robbed, the Republicans have this fake “fight” against Obamacare where they ask for a few waivers and act like it is really pressing the system and they are negotiating hard. This is pro-wrestling type showmanship. Its stagecraft, not statecraft. If you want to know what things look like when they are REALLY fighting against FEDGOV, look at the fight over the EPA regulating coal fired power plants out of existence.