Good idea in Arkansas, but GOP wants to kill it

I saw a news piece on PBS Newshour a few weeks ago about a variation of the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare being done in Arkansas. Governor Mike Beebe and the legislature received permission to use the Medicaid subsidies in the insurance exchanges as they felt the people in need would be better served by insurance companies than under Medicaid. As of last month about 83,000 people had been signed up under the Medicaid expansion. Per the news piece, it is working quite nicely and other governors are taking notice.

Well, to the chagrin of the governor, a new Republican legislator has joined the Arkansas assembly and is convincing others to kill the idea. The GOP argument is the same that is being used in other states when Obamacare phases down its funding of the expansion from 100% to 90% it puts the state on the hook. The Obamacare precept is as people use the system and tap more preventive resources the costs will come down. Three reputable organizations, The Commonwealth Fund, RAND Corporation and Economic Policy Institute have all said the Medicaid expansions is good for state economies and are worth investigation.

The Arkansas model is of interest to me and others. As an Independent voter who is a retired benefits manager and consultant, I would like to see this model continue to see if it is more meritorious than placing the people in need into Medicaid. I also believe it is a model that Republican led states could get behind, as the exchange concept is in keeping with Republican concepts. The truth that does not get talked about enough is, Obamacare, while detested by the GOP for political reasons, can trace its roots to the Heritage Foundation and Romneycare, which was supported for the country by none other than Mr. Tea Party, former Senator Jim DeMint.

Having DeMint’s earlier support does not make anything necessarily a good idea, I just find it ironic and hypocritical of his adamant opposition to Obamacare. If you doubt the veracity of this comment, I encourage you to Google Jim DeMint and Romneycare. And, here is one final truth. Obamacare, now that it is past many of its rollout issues in this phase, is showing promise and is taking shape, building off the earlier phases’ success.

Arkansas, please don’t kill a good pilot. Let’s study it and see if it is a better model. And, please do not kill it for political reasons, as that just hurts people and that would be a shame.


4 thoughts on “Good idea in Arkansas, but GOP wants to kill it

  1. Some polls I’ve seen show that Repubs speaking out against Obamacare is losing credibility, and voters are bored with the tired line of reasoning. Perhaps the time will come in the near future when this topic will drop completely off the radar. Lets hope.

    • Let’s hope, but the boys in the band will be trying to delay the individual mandate in the House today. I agree the rhetoric is getting very stale for all.


    Note to Readers: The variation of the Medicaid expansion in Arkansas has now been renewed for another year and is pretty successful. Yay for our Arkansas citizens. Here is an article in Benefits Pro about its success and that it is being looked at by several other states as we speak. To reiterate, this is a Republican led, bipartisan variation of the Medicaid expansion.

    Other states need to step up and do this to help people in need. It is good for them, good for rural hospitals who are suffering and good for the state’s economy. But, again do not take my word for it – please read the findings of the Commonwealth Fund, RAND Corporation and Economic Policy Institute. Other Republican led states have expanded Medicaid, so there is no reason others cannot. This is a pretty good option to consider for those concerned about Medicaid administration.

  3. Note to Readers: I wanted to add the endorsement of this Arkansas Medicaid expansion concept from an old friend. His vote counts more than mine, as he is a retired senior healthcare actuary and consultant and former Senior Partner of one of the largest healthcare consulting firms in the world. His clients included several Fortune 100 companies. He sees this variation as a win-win for my home state of North Carolina and others who are worried about the administrative burden of Medicaid expansion. He also is one the nicest people you will ever meet and a mentor to many.

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