The daily bill filings: AsaCare leads the list. | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The daily bill filings: AsaCare leads the list.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 4:36 PM

In legislative filings today:

* ASACARE: Sen. Jim Hendren files the bill to continue the private option (which they hope to call the Health Care Independence Act.) Hendren hated this with a passion in 2013. Now his uncle is governor.  

They'll call it the Health Care Reform Act. Too many words. Make it AsaCare. It creates the task force to study systemic changes and will, says the title, "transform the Arkansas Medicaid Program with innovative and cost-effective solutions for the provision of health care services."

The task force will include 16 members of the General Assembly. Democrats are guaranteed two seats, one each from the Senate and House minority leaders. Chamber leaders serve. Each appoints five. Majority leaders of each chamber get one each. Surgeon general (son of former Obamacare foe Sen. Cecile Bledsoe) will be non-voting member

The bill itself is not the appropriation mechanism for private option continuation, but mostly a broad outline of the hopes and dreams of Hutchinson in changing Medicaid more to his liking. Many questions will be answered by the task force. What is innovative? Does cost-effective mean delivering the same or better services for less, or just fewer services? Does "removing disincentives for work" mean denying coverage for non-workers. Details yet to be determined.

However, there do appear to be some specific changes anticipated in the existing program on the effective date of the act. See Section 4 of the linked bill. These include ending some transfers of people from standard Medicaid to coverage under the private option version. David Ramsey is plowing into the fine print.

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