The ever-looming threat of Medicaid expansion
For those among us who may not realize it one of the most expensive items in the state’s budget is providing government subsidized health care to the poor and low income families among us, which is exactly why the state should have more control over Medicaid spending as the Trump administrating is now offering to states such as Arkansas.
We’re pleased to learn that Gov. Asa Hutchinson welcomes the officer but first they must accept a limit on just how much the federal government kicks in.
One of the main concerns in Arkansas is the importance for the state to manage the delivery of health care services to its most vulnerable citizens, despite the argument that the Trump administration simply wants to weaken the social safety net. This is simply scare tactics without any substantiation whatsoever.
It appears the American Medical Association and a professional society representing cancer doctors are strong opposes to the idea, and as expected the leftist Democrats in Washington who have sharply criticized the proposal saying the Trump administration has simply decided to ignore the law and steal lifesaving health care from seniors and families. Naturally, that condemnation comes from no other than “Nasty” Nancy Pelosi, House speaker from California.
Nevertheless, Hutchinson called the federal announcement” good news for everyone who believes the sates should have more flexibility in managing Medicaid and is currently reviewing the administration’s guidance “to see how this would fit into an Arkansas-type approach for providing health care to the expanded Medicaid population.
Here is how it works, under the so-called private option, Arkansas expanded Medicaid coverage through a federal waiver allowing it to use Medicaid funds to buy private coverage available through the federal healthcare.gov website for newly eligible recipients.
Let us also point out that legislation passed by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature during a special session in 2016 revamped that part of he Medicaid program, named it Arkansas Works and directed Hutchinson to request block-grant funding for the Medicaid program “as soon as practical if the federal law or regulations change to allow” such a model.
Hutchinson officials have came out and made it clear that the block-grant authority is something that they have being asking for so that they can manage these types of health care programs in an effective way.
Despite what the critics might be saying, the whole idea behind the administration’s “Healthy Adult Opportunity” is to improve the quality of car for the poor while also controlling costs. We have to agree that this is an opportunity for states, such as Arkansas to upgrade care, limit the program’s strain on their budget, and gain more freedom to shape Medicaid to local needs.
This proposal will be a first step to changing a long-standing financial arrangement between Washington and the states. The federal share of Medicaid is now open-ended, meaning that a state is at least partly protected from surprises like an economic downturn that swells enrollment This is a game changer and something that will certainly be beneficial to the state in its ability to provide necessary medical care to the state’s very poor.