20 Republican state attorneys general, including Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, have gone to court to drive a stake through the Affordable Care Act.

Their argument, in a Texas federal court, is that since Congress has removed the fee, or tax, portion of the mandate under the law that everyone purchase insurance, the mandate itself is no longer constitutional under the federal ruling that allowed the law to stand because it was an exercise of taxing authority. Rutledge issued a statement with the usual Republican boilerplate:


“Obamacare has been an overreaching, unconstitutional burden for all Americans from its inception,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “For too long the federal government has mandated Arkansas’s health care without regard for the medical care Arkansans desire or can afford. It’s time for this act to be rightfully held unconstitutional so that Americans can again be free to select the health coverage best suited to their needs.”

If the whole law is struck down, doesn’t that spell the end of the related expansion of Medicaid, a program that Arkansas has tailored to serve more than 300,000 people?

And if the Medicaid expansion goes?


How many of the 300,000 will die from lack of health care?

What becomes of the state budget, stripped of hundreds of millions of federal dollars?


What happens to UAMS, already teetering but propped up to a degree by a reduction in free charity care?

What of rural hospitals?

What of people who’ll lose jobs in the health industry?

What of the state’s loss of premiums through the private option program?


What if the depressed economy generally affected by the loss of a billion dollars in spending in Arkansas?

I’m seeking a comment from the governor’s office.

Will the Democrat Party field at least a token candidate?