Good news: Obamacare waivers. Bad news: Obamacare waivers | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 6, 2017

Good news: Obamacare waivers. Bad news: Obamacare waivers

Posted By on Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 7:57 AM

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has scheduled a news conference this afternoon to announce news about waiver requests to the Trump administration on operation of the expanded Medicaid coverage provided by Obamacare, a program Hutchinson hopes will continue at current federal funding levels.

The news is touted as "reform." Good news by Hutchinson's lights, in other words.

You may have noticed a news article over the weekend that said more than 21,000 had been shorn from the 330,000 covered in Arkansas's Medicaid expansion program in the course of continuing eligibility checks. About half of those may or may not still be eligible, but they didn't complete renewal paperwork.

Hutchinson's office called this reduction "good news," which is probably a tip to what further "good news" in waivers would mean.

My idea of good news in health care is universal coverage, such as most advanced countries in the world provide. In Republican Arkansas, people no longer covered by health insurance is good news.

Hutchinson had already received some waiver approval from the federal program in December. He was hoping then for a work requirement for recipients among other changes aimed at further reducing beneficiaries of health coverage.

UPDATE: A new Congressional Budget Office report says Obamacare is costing the government far less than estimates made when law passed.

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