Thursday, July 19, 2012

Arkansas leads the way on Medicaid expansion

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 4:35 AM

obsitnik.jpg

How about this? Arkansas Medicaid Director Andy Allison's examination of the costs and benefits — a net gain of over $300 million to Arkansas over 7 years — of the Medicaid expansion is used as a template for the science in the Washington Post.

One more thought for the spluttering Republicans, whose current talking point is that Arkansas should refuse federal dollars because it might contribute to the federal deficit. You could blame us for the federal deficit only if you presume Medicaid is the only cost in the federal budget in which savings could be made and only if you think Arkansas should refuse to take more money than it pays in to the feds rather than help its own people.

It seems like a good time for the Larry Obsitnik photo above, a copy of which he gave me long ago — signed — for my use. Wonder how the sides in the current fight on Medicaid would have divided in 1957? Would those standing in the hospital door today have been standing in the schoolhouse door against evil federal intervention then, too? The billlboard slogan is timeless and as applicable in 2012 as it was in 1957 when the troops rolled in to uphold the promise of equal treatment for all.

And one more thought: The state has been excessively conservative in estimating a bump in revenue from hundreds of millions in direct federal Medicaid spending in Arkansas for health care providers and all their many contractors and related parties.

Imagine the shale math that the UA's Kathy Deck could apply to this money if somebody only would hire her to evaluate it. What, you think about a six-fold multiplier would be about right? At least that much, I'd guess, given how that shale gas money is said to circulate time and time again, never apparently leaving Arkansas to line the pockets of gas barons, speculators, major leaseholders in other states and so on. What do you say Sen. Rapert? Under Deck shale math, wouldn't this Medicaid money produce BILLIONS for Arkansas?

UPDATE: Deck has been there, done that. And, guess what, she indeed concluded in a 2010 study that Medicaid is a 6-1 economic driver in Arkansas. Sen. Rapert? If that shale study is gold, isn't this one?

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