Arkansas Advocates issues statement on threats to Medicaid program | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Arkansas Advocates issues statement on threats to Medicaid program

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 4:22 PM

The private option, the state's unique version of Medicaid expansion, has gotten some positive headlines lately — the uninsured rate in Arkansas has been cut in more than half since the policy was enacted, the biggest drop in the nation during that time; the state's new consultant found that the program will save more than $400 million for the state's budget between 2017 and 2021. 

But the Medicaid program has been under threat from bumbling state policies and political grandstanding. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families issued a statement on the Medicaid program today. Here's executive director Rich Huddleston: 

Due to a confusing income verification process for those people covered under the Private Option, nearly 50,000 Arkansans stand to lose their health coverage. To make matters worse, the governor’s decision to block Medicaid funding for one particular provider, Planned Parenthood, could cost the state all federal Medicaid funding. In 2014, the Medicaid operating budget included more than $3.8 billion in federal funds. 

Full statement from Huddleston after the jump: 

Medicaid is a critical program that helps Arkansans provide affordable health coverage for their families. Recent steps taken by the administration threaten that success and could have disastrous results for the health and financial security of Arkansas families.

Medicaid provides coverage for our most vulnerable Arkansans. Federal Medicaid dollars protect our elderly citizens and insure our children. About 900,000 Arkansans receive Medicaid, roughly a third of our population. Beyond the economic benefits of health coverage – a recent reports says the Private Option will save the state $438 million – it is our moral and societal duty to provide for those in need. A policy that takes coverage, and the security it brings, away from people who rely on it is short-sighted at best. The people of Arkansas need strong leadership and rely on the compassion of our leaders.

Due to a confusing income verification process for those people covered under the Private Option, nearly 50,000 Arkansans stand to lose their health coverage. To make matters worse, the governor’s decision to block Medicaid funding for one particular provider, Planned Parenthood, could cost the state all federal Medicaid funding. In 2014, the Medicaid operating budget included more than $3.8 billion in federal funds.

Ending Medicaid would take away health coverage for thousands of our elderly and developmentally disabled neighbors, those on the Private Option and all the children on ARKids First. That’s more than half the state’s children.

At Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, we believe Medicaid provides a consistent source of affordable health coverage for those who need and rely on it. We invest in and support health coverage through Medicaid because we believe – as a society and as a state – that there is value in taking care of those who need it. We believe the state should strengthen and support Medicaid and those who rely on the coverage it provides.   

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