The cost of the health bill: Arkansas is a loser | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The cost of the health bill: Arkansas is a loser

Posted By on Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 9:38 AM

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AP takes a stab at assessing winners and losers in the pending Graham-Cassidy health bill. It concludes, as have other analyses, that states that expanded Medicaid, as Arkansas did, stand to be losers.

This is at variance with Gov. Asa Hutchinson's assertion yesterday that the legislation, which he endorsed, wouldn't cost Arkansas money (and, thus, coverage for thousands of people).

From the AP story:
“The bottom line is most states will experience a reduction in federal funding under the bill,” said Caroline Pearson of the consulting firm Avalere Health. “States that expanded Medicaid are likely to see some of the biggest cuts.”

The 31 states that expanded Medicaid are likely to see a funding reduction over time, as well as states, like Florida, where many residents received subsidies for private health insurance, said Larry Levitt of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

Losers — States that expanded Medicaid, including 17 with Republican governors. The more generous federal match for the expansion would be phased out, and some of the money would bAe redistributed to states that did not expand their programs.

Losers — People with health problems or with pre-existing medical conditions could be charged more if the state they live in obtains a waiver from current requirements that forbid insurers from charging higher premiums based on health status. States could also seek waivers from the current requirement that insurers cover 10 basic kinds of services, such as maternity and childbirth, or mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Who you gonna believe? The AP and various experts — or Gov. Hutchinson and Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton who apparently like this scenario.

PS: More here on consulting firm Avalere's devastating assessment of the cost to the states. They are talking a 31 percent cut in funding for kids — KIDS! In Arkansas, it estimates cust of $10 billion over the next decade, and far more in the decade after that — $66 billion by 2036.

Yet to be called to account, the Arkansas representatives in the House.

Looking at you, French Hill of Little Rock, particularly. I've asked. But his office is rarely communicative.

PS: Add the American Cancer Society Action Network to the major health groups that have reached out to Gov. Hutchinson to urge him to reconsider.

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