Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Asa may waffle, but the private option is here to stay

Posted By on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Ernie Dumas gives Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson a jab for dodging a position on the private option expansion of Medicaid, while Democrat Mike Ross is loudly proclaiming his support for a plan crafted by Republican legislators.

But the main point of his column this week is this: The private option is a fact of life. It will endure because it must, for reasons practical and legal.

Asa's dilemma:

If he were forced to take a stand Hutchinson would have to say that he would keep the Medicaid expansion because scrapping it would wreck the state budget, end medical coverage for more than 200,000 of the state’s neediest citizens, imperil community hospitals, disappoint doctors who have begun to accept poor adults as patients because they now can pay, and end a big economic stimulus for businesses in every community. But openly embracing Obamacare like that could stifle his campaign to characterize Ross as a pawn of the evil people who saddled Arkansas with Obamacare.

Why won't it be scrapped?


If the state scraps the private option, it will have to once again shoulder Medicaid costs that were shifted to Washington last winter as part of the Obamacare bargain with the states. After seeing the big budget savings from the Obamacare shift, the legislature decided it could cut taxes last year. Hutchinson and Ross both promise more tax cuts next year but ending the private option would make that as fiscally reckless as it proved to be in Kansas.

A total of 185,000 persons have enrolled in expanded Medicaid and another 40,000 have bought insurance in the Obamacare exchange—together nearly half of all the previously uninsured citizens in Arkansas. When the new governor takes office, some 215,000 will be enrolled in expanded Medicaid alone. Will Hutchinson and, indeed, most Republican legislators want to end medical coverage for so many of their neighbors and constituents?
It was an easy vote for some Republicans last year because they viewed Medicaid, except for nursing home care, as welfare for all those black people in the Delta and south-central Arkansas. But they are learning that it is mostly a program for white working people and their children.

Dumas notes that 27,213 people in the virtually all-white six Northwest Arkansas counties have enrolled in the private option, against 27,871 in the 11 counties of the Delta, some but not all majority black.

By the way: The private option for now is all federal money. It can be appropriated by a simple majority vote. A quarter of the legislature can't kill it as with a state appropriation. Plus the case law is clear, Dumas writes: Once you create a program ("entitlement," if you will) you can't kill it by mere failure of a state appropriation.

Here's the whole column.
Favorite

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The assault on Obamacare begins

    Donald Trump Friday night signed an executive order directing government to scale back Obamacare to the extent possible. Though the signing was mostly symbolic, it likely has implications for Arkansas.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • Two dead in North Little Rock shooting

    two people were fatally wounded about 9 p.m. Friday in a home in the 1400 block of Division Street, North Little Rock.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • 2nd Amendment meets the 1st in Fayetteville on campus carry

    They've had a forum in Fayetteville today on Rep. Charlie Collins' fervent desire to force more pistol-packing people onto the campus at the University of Arkansas (and every other college in Arkansas.) He got an earful from opponents.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Matt Campbell files ethics complaint against Dennis Milligan

    Little Rock attorney and blogger Matt Campbell, whose knack for deep research brought down Mark Darr, Mike Maggio and Dexter Suggs, now has his sights trained on another worthy target. Today, he filed a 113-page ethics complaint against state Treasurer Dennis Milligan that includes 14 separate allegations.
    • Aug 20, 2015
  • Lawyers plead for mercy in Fort Smith forum shopping case

    Twelve of the lawyers facing punishment by federal Judge P.K. Holmes in Fort Smith for moving a class action case against an insurance company out of his court to a state court where it was speedily settled have filed their argument against sanctions.
    • Jun 16, 2016
  • State Police issues statement on Jason Rapert 'threats'

    The State Police have issued a minor clarification in what appears to be an effort to soothe an enraged Sen. Jason Rapert, exposed here as overly excited about both a Conway parking lot question from a constituent as well as some inflammatory Internet rhetoric that he's interpreted as a dire threat on his life. State cops took his reports seriously, they say. But in the end, they found nothing actionable.
    • Sep 15, 2015

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Watch the trailer for 'Shelter,' the Renaud Bros. new doc on homeless kids in New Orleans

    Check out the trailer for "Shelter," the Renaud Bros. new feature-length documentary about homeless teens navigating life on the streets of New Orleans with the help of Covenant House, the longstanding French Quarter shelter for homeless kids.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation