Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism
The Medicaid debacle
From the web, in response to stories posted on the Arkansas Blog in the past several days about the Department of Human Services' Medicaid renewal system that, among other problems, gave people only 10 days to supply income information to keep from being kicked off their plans:
I have a friend that was living with me a couple of years ago and used my home address. She had the hardest time getting them [DHS] to change her address. Ambetter said she had to go to the website. The website wouldn't process the address change. DHS said she had to go to Ambetter. After considerable effort she finally found someone at DHS to change her address. At least I am conscientious enough to keep her mail for her and drop it off to her from time to time.
Ambetter is also alerting their insureds that they may be getting a letter from DHS and to respond quickly. So, I'm hoping the insurance companies that are part of the private option will help their insureds navigate the system to get their insurance reinstated.
My point mostly being they don't have a good system in place to get an address changed either.
Do you remember the time when people used to be making jokes about the Soviet bureaucracy? That's long ago. Nowadays, the joke is on us. And who's responsible? Republicans taking any opportunity they can to make citizens' interactions with Repub-controlled government as unpleasant as possible.
I hope some of the people who got kicked off unjustifiably — especially those who did send in the requested documentation and still(!) were terminated — will sue the ass off the governor and his henchmen. This was a deliberate political decision to find a way to kick people off of health insurance, and the reason isn't even saving money (it's federal money after all), it's pure and unadulterated sadism. They just get a kick out of seeing people needlessly suffer. (Sidenote: Ohio Gov. John Kasich explained his decision to expand Medicare by quoting the Bible. Result: Self-anointed Bible-thumpers hate him.)
In the spring, I attended a legislative task force meeting on teacher and state employees insurance. The tone was sometimes hostile when discussing certain conditions. In dealing with a new policy on hepatitis C, it was implied some cases were a product of drug abuse or other behavior. At least Cecile Bledsoe offered that many medical professionals were often exposed to hepatitis C. It was stated that people with diabetes and other conditions be charged a $750 per month penalty if their condition is not under control. It was stated that, if these people would control their conditions, prices would be cheaper "for the rest of us." Of course, several of the young men sitting on the committee appear on course to develop the same conditions. If legislators are this hostile toward STATE employees and teachers, it can be assumed they would be even more insensitive to citizens using the public option.
The sad thing is, I completely believe this is an accident. I've worked with the state's IT departments, and it's not pretty. Arkansas, due to its size, has the most to gain from well-implemented systems. Sadly, in large part because they're not willing to pay for it, and the leadership doesn't know how to use email, let alone build complex systems, we instead shoot ourselves in the foot with the very tool that should be rescuing us. It's especially ironic, given how much our politicians extol the virtues of private enterprise, that they can't recognize the market at work when they can't hire good employees.
It's been nine months since Hutchinson was elected office. He should have had his team prepared for this. Remember how our state Repubs were screaming when Obamacare had its computer issues? Well, the shoe is on the other foot, so to speak, now. I don't see them screaming for a screwup that occurred on their watch. We shall see how Asa handles this.
It's like Gov. Asa got drunk and tattooed a big swastika on his forehead ... this private option scandal. It's his ugly baby and he should have known better than to birth it.
As someone who unfortunately has some tedious health problems I can tell you lots of long stories about what happens when I can't get my medicine or insulin pens. My young doctor avoids working on Fridays and due to my lack of attention I've had to go without insulin over the weekend.
So if, thanks to Team Asa I couldn't buy insulin for a month ... one of my nine cats would have to take over my typing duties on the AT blog.
Why would a politician happily screw up someone's delicate health? Are ALEC or the Koch brothers worth killing an innocent person? And how could Asa live with that on his conscience? Doesn't Asa's vengeful god make little notes about things as important as this?
We can scorn crack dealers and meth heads all we want but really ... who's worse? A guy selling you drugs or a guy knowingly kicking sick people off the health insurance rolls? I'm sure Republicans sleep well at night. I just don't know how they do it?
It would be great if those who were dropped and needed to refill life-saving prescriptions could show up at one place and get these matters resolved. I nominate the governor's door tomorrow morning.
Well, the Republican screwup of state government is well underway and their ability to employ those who are incapable of thinking is working well. They will, of course, double their workload since probably at least 80 percent of those cut off by the state will have to be re-enrolled with more labor on their part as well as screwing health care companies who will have to re-do their work.
Wouldn't it have been a lot easier to just stand outside and drop 20-pound anvils on your foot since the same amount of public good would have occurred and they wouldn't have looked like the fools they are?
couldn't be better
This debacle is a planned debacle. Sabotage was inserted in the plan from the beginning by the GOP. Like many of you repeatedly say, they don't want to help the poor. They might set one up in the first place as a sop to the many, deluded poor who, for some well-designed reasons, tend to vote Republican. Yet they only want it to operate long enough that they can blame Democrats or dark people when it goes belly up. It's a devious plan to have it both ways and it works — at least here in the South.
Smiling Asa is the perfect figurehead for a bunch of hateful, vicious, selfish people who make up the Greedy Old Patriarchs party in Arkinsaw.
In response to reporting on the Arkansas Blog about the major change to the Little Rock teacher's union contract:
Asa saw Scott Walker effectively destroy the public employees unions in Wisconsin, and took a lesson from him. I'm afraid it is all but over for the Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association. I don't know anything about the Little Rock situation, but across the nation, a lot of the public employee unions have brought widespread public distrust upon themselves. I am a union man; however, I never belonged to one. The Newspaper Guild local at the Arkansas Gazette had already been defeated and put out of business by the time I went to work there.
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