The economic stimulus of Obamacare | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The economic stimulus of Obamacare

Posted By on Sun, May 7, 2017 at 8:24 AM

HEALTH EQUALS JOBS: That was the argument back when Arkansas first embarked on the private option Medicaid expansion. - KUAR
  • KUAR
  • HEALTH EQUALS JOBS: That was the argument back when Arkansas first embarked on the private option Medicaid expansion.

The New York Times devotes front-page space
to the obvious today: Ending Obamacare not only could cost lives and good health for many Americans it could damage the economy.

The outsize economic role of the American health care industry heightens the risks posed by the Republicans’ effort in Washington to repeal the Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2010 under President Barack Obama, and it comes at a delicate moment for the broader economy.

While the government reported Friday that unemployment was at its lowest point in more than a decade, the health care industry has been an engine for much of that hiring, adding jobs at more than three times the rate of the rest of the economy since 2007.Nor is the growth limited to hospitals. With help from the vast expansion of Medicaid enrollment that began three years ago, nursing homes, outpatient centers and medical labs have also grown, turning a fragmented industry into a strong political force.

Do you think it is coincidental that Arkansas unemployment has been at historic lows for months? Coincidental that the four years of expanded Medicaid health coverage in Arkansas have been attended by government ability to cut a half-billion dollars in taxes? Our early adoption of the Medicaid expansion has been an enormous economic stimulus to the state of Arkansas.

So, while poor, old and sick Arkansans look on nervously as the Republican Congress decides how much damage is to be done to Obamacare, the state already has taken a big step toward a self-inflicted economic wound with Gov. Asa Hutchinson's legislation to throw 60,000 lower income workers off the program and perhaps discourage more with new work and cost requirements.

Hutchinson has said those 60,000 will just jump right over to the federal marketplace for equivalent cost and coverage, fully paid by the federal government. Even if Congress does NOT change Obamacare, nobody really believes this.  Poor workers won't be able to afford the premiums, however small.

One estimate I saw said we'd be lucky if a quarter of the 60,000 stayed insured.

The cost of the Private Option/Arkansas Works/Obamacare Medicaid expansion is in the neighborhood of about $6,000 per person per year.

At that rate, $60 million in health care spending will be lost for every 10,000 Arkansans that no longer ha d health insurance coverage thanks to the new state law. That's $360 million worth of health spending for the whole batch.

Every dollar that stops flowing is a dollar that won't go to an insurance company, a hospital, a doctor, a nurse's aide, a home health aide, a pharmacist and so on. That, in turn, means less income for the state in income tax and sales taxes on goods and services those people purchase. Plus, hospitals will see a  rise in costs of uncompensated care for emergency treatment.

Interesting times ahead. Something tells me that the $105 million tapped from cigarette lawsuit money that was supposed to go only for health under an initiated act won't sit untouched long in the state reserve fund to which it was recently transferred. I hope, at least, that it does go to health care. And, not say, for another state handout to a big steelmaker or similar holding us hostage with threats to move to Texas.

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Homicide victim a Little Rock newcomer

    Little Rock police have identified the latest city homicide victim as Samuel "Chris" Gilmore, 19. His body was found late Monday night in the 4800 block of W. 14th. Police said he had just moved to Little Rock from Texas.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • French Hill gets a prominent mention in Russian intrigue

    The lede of a Politico article on Russian intrigue is perhaps not an ideal place for Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill of Little Rock to find himself:
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • Faulkner County investigating sexual harassment complaint

    At the urging of the Faulkner County Quorum Court, Prosecuting Attorney Cody HIland will undertake what he calls a civil investigation of complaints of sexual harassment against Shelia Bellott, who oversees four employees as director of the county's emergency management office.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Among the last words from Kenneth Williams: 'Finger Lickin' Good Fried Chicken'

    What's purported to be a final-words essay from condemned prisoner Kenneth Williams was distributed today by Deborah Robinson, a freelance journalist in Arkansas.  He reflects on his execution, his victims, reactions of inmates and big servings of fried chicken, which he says are given to all inmates on execution days.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation