Annals of meanness: Senate health bill could affect 400,000 Arkansas children | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Annals of meanness: Senate health bill could affect 400,000 Arkansas children

Posted By on Sat, Jun 24, 2017 at 11:00 AM

ANXIOUS: Julie Kauffman, with daughter Olive, is among those watching closely as Congress considers slicing the Medicaid program that serves them.
  • ANXIOUS: Julie Kauffman, with daughter Olive, is among those watching closely as Congress considers slicing the Medicaid program that serves them.
I'd mentioned the impact of the Senate health bill on health coverage for 400,000 Arkansas children yesterday (and the corresponding body blow to Arkansas Children's Hospital), but as luck has it Benjamin Hardy has fleshed out the topic for the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network.

It's another question for the elusive Sen. Tom Cotton, who helped write the bill with 12 other white Republican men with solid bank accounts and good government health insurance.

The plan to drastically reduce Medicaid spending over time means far more to Arkansas than just a rollback in coverage for those who benefitted from the Medicaid expansion for working poor (an expansion Gov. Asa Hutchinson already wants to cut by 60,000 by cutting the income eligibility level to the poverty line rather than 138 percent of it.)

In Arkansas, 30 percent of the state’s population — about 912,000 people — were enrolled in some form of Medicaid in March 2017, according to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That figure includes enrollment in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which together with Medicaid pays for ARKids A and B.

Marquita Little, health policy director at Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, said the Senate bill “goes well beyond the political promise of repealing Obamacare. It restructures Medicaid funding. And so, it really is a U-turn on the promise that the federal government has always made to states — that Medicaid would be funded through a state-federal partnership.”
Nonprofit children's hospitals are most reliant on Medicaid money. A 2014 Moody's report said Arkansas Children's Hospital received 62 percent of general revenue from Medicaid. A flattening and ultimate reduction of this spending could be catastrophic.

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