Arkansas & Ohio: 2 GOP Governors, 2 very different Medicaid situations
David Ramsey has the full skinny on the unpleasant situation in Arkansas, where their "private option" Medicaid expansion program, which was always weird with a beard to begin with, is very much at risk of collapsing altogether:
Well, here we go again. The legislature is once again ready to debate the private option – the state’s unique version of Medicaid expansion, which uses funds available via the Affordable Care Act to purchase private health insurance for low-income Arkansans. Gov. Asa Hutchinson will take a long-awaited position on the policy in a speech at UAMS tomorrow morning. Then it will be up to the legislature. Health insurance for more than 200,000 Arkansans is at stake. Here are some keys to remember as the debate unfolds tomorrow and in the coming weeks.
The short version: The AR program has to be re-approved by the legislature every year, and requires a 75% majority to do so, so it's a wonder that it's survived this long, frankly.
UPDATE 7:00pm: Well how do you like that?? A nice surprise: New GOP Governor Asa Hutchinson surprised everyone by actually pushing the legislature to keep the program as is for another 2 years! Of course, that doesn't mean they'll agree to do so, but it's certainly a positive step.
Meanwhile, in Ohio, Greg Sargent of the Washington Post reports that GOP Governor John Kasich is sounding an awful lot like a Democrat, especially considering that he claims to hate "Obamacare" as much as any other hate-and-bile-filled Republican:
Via Taegan Goddard, the Great Falls Tribune reports that Ohio Governor John Kasich, talking to a group of GOP legislators in Montana, made a veryspirited pitch for the success of the version of the Medicaid expansion that Kasich has embraced in his own state. He said that Republicans should not oppose the Medicaid expansion on the basis of “strict ideology” — translation: Hatred of Obummercare — and added:
“I gotta tell you, turning down your money back to Montana on an ideological basis, when people can lose their lives because they get no help, doesn’t make a lot of sense to me,” Kasich told Republican lawmakers…
“There’s no money in Washington, it’s my money,” Kasich said. “I brought my money back to Ohio. And what did we do with it? We treat the mentally ill, we treat the drug addicted, and we help the working poor stop going to emergency rooms and forcing me to pay for their medical bills because they go there sicker.”
As Sargent notes, the cognitive dissonance at play here is astonishing:
If Kasich is making this case for accepting federal money to expand health care to poor people, then how would he justify not accepting federal money to cover lower-income working people? That’s the question many Republican state lawmakers may soon face, if SCOTUS upholds the challenge to the ACA and strikes subsidies in three dozen states on the federal exchange.
Yup. Medicaid is, in the minds of the GOP, giving Free Gub'ment Handouts To Lazy Poor People®. QHP tax credits are giving a Tax Cut For America's Hard-Working Men & Women®.
Yet the way things could play out, we could be seeing a situation where Republicans are supporting Free Gub'ment Handouts To Lazy Poor People® while rejecting Tax Cuts For America's Hard-Working Men & Women®.
Amazing times we're living in.