Legislative Audit releases report on private option | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Legislative Audit releases report on private option

Posted By on Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 9:16 AM

The Joint Legislative Auditing Committee is meeting this morning and will see a report on the state's private option plan for Medicaid expansion. 

Leg. Audit has been used as a political weapon by Sen. Bryan King, a staunch foe of the private option, so some thought there might be fireworks. But I've perused the special report and it appears to be a straightforward summary of information that was already publicly available on the implementation of the policy. 

The plus side: while this information has been available for weeks, some Republican lawmakers have claimed that it was hazy, or unavailable, or not to be trusted, or always changing, or confusing, or something. Having one report from a source Republicans have faith in may help move the debate forward. (For example, Rep. Kim Hammer, who describes himself as "open-minded" about the appropriation vote, told me last week that he was waiting to see hard numbers from Audit.)

All of that said, this is the private option, so I'm expecting some grandstanding questions, mindless griping about the auto-assignment policy, etc. I'll report from the meeting shortly. 

***UPDATE: The audit report found that the private option was being implemented as intended and was complying with state law and the federal waiver. So short meeting right? Well...you're never going to guess this but private option opponents used the opportunity to grandstand against the policy. It really would streamline things to just have a weekly session in which King, Rep. Justin Harris and others could ask questions give speeches about the evils of the private option. A few committee members suggested that the meeting ought to focus on the the audit at hand rather than grandstanding but King, the committee chair, felt otherwise. 

***UPDATE: Another example of Republicans embracing this information, long publicly available, now that it's in Audit's report: 


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