FOR Medicaid Expansion – April 1 edition.

April 1 obamacareHere are ten essential statements you need to know SUPPORTING Medicaid Expansion/ Private Option/ the Governor’s “Arkansas Works” plan.

  1. In passing the Private Option, the Arkansas legislature was fighting against Obamacare.
  2. The Private Option is for working families.
  3. The Private Option allows Arkansas to shift traditional Medicaid enrollees to the Private Option where Arkansas’ costs are much less.
  4. The Private Option/ Medicaid Expansion/ Arkansas Works is necessary to save our hospitals.
  5. Senator Jim Hendren’s SB96 of 2015 ends the Private Option/Medicaid Expansion. – It ends it!
  6. Governor’ Hutchinson’s “Arkansas Works” proposal is not the Private Option and not Obamacare Medicaid Expansion.
  7. Arkansas Works will give unemployed enrollees an incentive to work.
  8. It would be unfair to end Medicaid Expansion.
  9. If Arkansas does not continue Medicaid Expansion, Arkansas will have a huge budget hole.
  10. If Arkansas does not continue Medicaid Expansion, Arkansas’ share of the tax money will be spent in other states.


None of those things are true! Obamacare Medicaid Expansion supporters think every day should be April Fool’s day.

Let’s set the record straight.

  1. In passing the Private Option, the Arkansas legislature was NOT fighting Obamacare. It was adopting the one part of Obamacare that the Supreme Court said required state approval. The “Private Option” is just a waiver on how Obamacare Medicaid Expansion is delivered to enrollees. It is merely called the private option because the waiver lets “private” insurance companies get a slice of the pie.
  2. The Private Option is NOT for working families. It is overwhelmingly for able bodied working age adults who do not have any children or any dependents. Working? About 46% of the enrollees are estimated to not work at all.
  3. Obamacare prohibits states from shifting people eligible for traditional Medicaid to Medicaid Expansion. If you qualify for Medicaid, you can’t be shifted to the Private Option.
  4. It is three years after passage of the Private Option and still NO evidence has been given that Arkansas hospitals were about to close but for the Medicaid Expansion. Obamacare supporters try to confuse the issue by talking about “uncompensated care” numbers given by hospitals but charity care is only a fraction of the uncompensated care numbers being claimed by tax exempt hospitals. Meanwhile, despite the country having been in a recession, many Arkansas hospitals continued expansion and undertook new construction, purchasing specialty clinics, and purchasing doctor’s practices.
  5. Senator Jim Hendren’s SB96 of 2015 didn’t end the Private Option/Medicaid Expansion any more than you can end daylight by legislating that the sun must go down in the evening. The bill goofed up and included a clause acknowledging that the Private Option federal waiver would end anyway at the exact same time, unless new legislation is adopted.
  6. Governor’ Hutchinson’s “Arkansas Works” is a rebranding of the Private Option with some tweaks in the program. One tweak is to include or capture small businesses and potentially more enrollees with expanded numbers. Arkansas Works is still Obamacare Medicaid Expansion and must be approved under the terms of expanded Obamacare.
  7. Arkansas Works does not give unemployed enrollees an incentive to work. It only gives them a suggestion. Referring enrollees to employment services but not requiring them to look for work does nothing.
  8. Would it be unfair to end Medicaid Expansion? The legislature didn’t think so when it adopted the Private Option.
  • The sponsors of the Private Option sold the program as an EXPERIMENT
  • The Private Option law requires enrollees to affirmatively acknowledge that they understand the program can be ended at any time
  • The Private Option law included a “sunset” provision stating the law terminates in June 2017 unless new legislation continues the program.
  1. Arkansas Works/ Private Option/ Medicaid Expansion will cost money not save money. The “budget hole” idea comes from projections given by the consultant, the Stephen Group. The Stephen Group acknowledges it had the duty to provide a report in support of keeping the benefits flowing to Medicaid Expansion enrollees. The claims of savings do NOT withstand scrutiny. See CFA articles: Claimed Private Option savings doesn’t withstand scrutiny; Arkansas Insurance Scheme Skims Millions in Federal Funds; and Private Option Budget Hole & Other Mythical Creatures.
  2. Will Arkansas taxpayer money be sent to other states, if Arkansas does not continue Medicaid Expansion? NO! Obamacare imposed new taxes, but there is NO POT OF MONEY for funding Medicaid Expansion. Over two years ago Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin (then U.S. Congressman) made it clear, “There is no dedicated funding stream” for Medicaid Expansion and, “The argument that if we do not take the money someone else will spend it, that’s not true… that’s not true. This is not money that goes to another state if we don’t take it. This is money that will not be spent by the federal government.

Here is the video of Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin’s 2014 comments:

The Congressional Research Office also researched the issue and debunked the claim that there is a pot of money for Medicaid Expansion. – See CRO letter.

Special Session

Special Session begins April 6, not April 1. It is time for Obamacare supporters to stop treating Arkansans like every day is April Fool’s Day.