Black Arkansas lawmaker schools GOP colleague for comparing Medicaid expansion to slavery
Arkansas state Sen. Stephanie Flowers (D) quickly shut down a white legislative colleague’s extreme rationale for opposing expanding Medicaid access in the state, the Arkansas Times reported.
The dispute began when Sen. Terry Rice (R) voiced his opposition to the move during a meeting of the senate Insurance and Commerce Committee on Wednesday, calling it “unbiblical.”
“We are enslaving future generations, our children and grandchildren to debt that we are irresponsibly putting on their credit card,” he said, arguing that accepting federal funding as part of the expansion would add to the national debt.
That prompted a response from Flowers, who is black.
“I would never vote for a bill that enslaved anybody,” she said. “I don’t think that’s what we’re doing when we’re providing health care for the poorest Americans. I have a serious problem with that kind of statement. Humanity dictates that we ought to give people an opportunity to have a healthy lifestyle. That’s not enslavement. I’m willing to have my son, and any grandchild, help somebody out when they’re sick.”
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that both houses of the state legislature will consider bills on Thursday funding the expansion, which would provide health insurance for around 267,000 low-income residents.
Watch Rice’s remarks, as posted online on Wednesday, below.