To expand Medicaid or not to expand Medicaid | Arkansas Blog

To expand Medicaid or not to expand Medicaid

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The nation's governors are meeting and the New York Times reports that — political bluster aside — the decision by states on whether to move forward with the Medicaid expansion provided by federal law is nuanced. Some Democrats are cautious. Some Republicans are not so deadset against the idea as you might think.

One thing ought to be clear: Wholly uninformed is the posturing by Arkansas Republican politicians who said last week that the state's "surplus" should be refunded to taxpayers. If it were to be refunded, the balance that Arkansas finished the year with should go to the federal government. Federal stimulus money — hundreds of millions — allowed Arkansas not to tap the Medicaid trust fund and allowed Arkansas to accumulate the extra money. Without the federal money, Arkansas would have run a huge deficit or endured enormous cuts in spending.

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