The looming health care crisis? Where's Asa? And Arkansans in Congress? | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The looming health care crisis? Where's Asa? And Arkansans in Congress?

Posted By on Sat, Oct 14, 2017 at 11:55 AM

click to enlarge ASA HUTCHINSON: Quiet for now on the possibility of difficult decision on health coverage. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • ASA HUTCHINSON: Quiet for now on the possibility of difficult decision on health coverage.
Donald Trump's moves to single-handedly wreck Obamacare with executive orders and an end to federal subsidies to help lower-income people pay for health care is already coming home to roost.

The Arkansas Insurance Department okayed higher insurance rates — 25 percent higher in one case — that had been requested should Trump action inject instability into the insurance market. If the end of those subsidies pushes up the cost of health insurance in the Arkansas version of the Medicaid expansion, it's a big problem. Arkansas's plan depends on no increasing state burden. It won't pick up the cost for those losing support. And rising costs overall could present tough choices. Or no choices at all, just a cut in state support with calamitous results for human beings. Hutchinson insists he's going to look for ways to "minimize" harm. But the only way to do that is spend more state money.  I'm not hearing any volunteers. Some are already seeing the end of Obamacare/Private Option/Arkansas Works. That will be a happy day for Donald Trump, but not so happy to millions of people in Dixie, which solidly delivered their electoral votes to him.

Congress could fix a major part of this easily, by approving the continuation of the cost-sharing subsidies, held to be illegal by Trump because they weren't congressionally approved. You think millionaire French HIll, to name just one representative, will have any more compassion for poor Arkansas people than he does for Puerto Rico hurricane victims? It's compassionate in Hill's view for people to figure out a way to get by without government assistance.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson's response so far has been muted  He is not listed as a holdout on the National Governors Association statement of collective disapproval (red, blue, purple states) of Trump's moves to sabotage the insurance market.  I've asked his office if he'd give on on-the-record "amen" to this statement.

The Kentucky attorney general, in a state headed by one of the worst Republican governors, is among several suing over Trump's end of the cost-sharing subsidy. But they are all Democrats. Republican attorneys general only sue to help pollute, enhance corporate profits restrict women's medical rights, restrict workers' rights, protect guns or discriminate against gay people

If the lawsuit fails and Congress doesn't act, then the governor and legislature will have to make adjustments. You can see why they're not anxious to jump in.

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