All Eyes On Asa: How Will AR’s New Governor Tackle The Obamacare Elephant In The Room?


All eyes are on Arkansas. The state’s “Private Option” Obamacare Medicaid expansion has proven a policy disaster and political nightmare.

Costs have run over budget every single month since the program’s launch and welfare for able-bodied adults is already taking priority over care for the truly needy. The Medicaid director who spearheaded the program abruptly resigned to “pursue other opportunities.” The program’s chief legislative architect, a three-term Republican state representative, lost his primary election to a political novice, despite a significant fundraising advantage. Dozens of anti-Obamacare candidates were swept into office on the promise of repeal, giving Republicans the largest legislative majorities they’ve held in the state since Reconstruction. It’s no surprise those lawmakers are looking for an escape hatch from this Medicaid welfare expansion.

On Thursday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) is expected to announce what he wants to do with the Obamacare expansion. Unlike his predecessor, Hutchinson has expressed serious reservations about the cost of the program going forward and has floated the possibility of ending the Private Option outright. While the public won’t know the details of Hutchinson’s plan until then, any plan to roll back Obamacare must contain at least two elements: no new enrollment and a definite end date. Any plan missing one or both of these elements is sure to face hurdles in the legislature and anger voters who sent Republicans to Little Rock to repeal this Obamacare expansion disaster.

Read the full article at Forbes by Nic Horton, Jonathan Ingram and Josh Archambault.