Friday, April 22, 2016

Why Arkansas had no choice on Medicaid

Posted By on Fri, Apr 22, 2016 at 6:33 AM

click to enlarge TEXAS TRIBUNE
  • Texas Tribune
Gov. Asa Hutchinson didn't have to back the Medicaid expansion financed by Obamacare legislation. He could have emulated Bobby Jindal and Sam Brownback and reduced Arkansas to the devastated state of Louisiana and Kansas.

Now from Texas, where yet another Republican governor refused to participate in Medicaid expansion, comes another illustration of the simple necessity of taking the money — not only for future highway building and tax cuts, as Hutchinson hopes, but more importantly to keep the health care system afloat. From the Texas Tribune:

State health officials confirmed Tuesday they have asked the Obama administration to keep a 15-month lifeline of federal Medicaid money flowing into Texas to help hospitals treat uninsured patients.

That money would offer temporary relief to health care providers who face losing the funds — some $3.1 billion annually — over state leaders' refusal to provide government-subsidized health coverage to low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's signature health law.

Federal officials previously signaled they would stop footing the bill for at least some of Texas’ costs for "uncompensated care" — the burden on hospitals when patients can't pay for their visits. Under the Affordable Care Act, Texas was encouraged to expand its Medicaid program to cover nearly 1 million additional adults living in poverty — a move that would have given more poor patients a means to pay for care. The state’s Republican leadership has vehemently opposed that option, criticizing Medicaid as an inefficient government program.

And now they want the money.

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