Asa’s Plan for Arkansas? Keep Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion Forever


Today, after months of anticipation, newly-inaugurated Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-Arkansas) announced his position on the state’s Obamacare Medicaid expansion. Gov. Hutchinson gave a speech at UAMS, one of the largest hospitals in the state, and announced that he would propose to continue the Medicaid expansion indefinitely.

He didn’t use those words – according to Hutchinson, the program will “end” in two years. In fact, Governor Hutchinson said he will let the Private Option waiver expire in two years and setup a task force to study Medicaid reform during that time. That could be seen as a small victory for taxpayers. After all, the GAO has reported that the Private Option-style approach is nearly $1 billion more expensive than traditional Medicaid expansion. But in the end, it’s a line without a hook.

Hutchinson said his administration, with the help of the task force, will come up with a new “alternative coverage model” to continue the Obamacare expansion. This means – absent any changes to the proposal – the state’s expansion will never go away, leaving taxpayers on the hook and hundreds of thousands of Arkansans dependent on government.

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