by Max Brantley
Add the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, a nonprofit group that works on Medicare and Medicaid issues, to those endorsing Arkansas's decision to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act. The Arkansas Hospital Association earlier endorsed the idea.
State officials say increased federal support will allow expansion of health services without an additional expenditure of state tax money. Republicans oppose the expansion on both the state and federal level, preferring to cut government expenses and taxes.
Among others, it says:
Arkansas has had, and continues to have, one of the nation’s more innovative Medicaid programs. There is a great deal of flexibility that allows significant variation and innovation. Arkansas, more than many, is working with that flexibility to build a cutting-edge Medicaid program. We have the chance to extend health coverage to perhaps 250,000 uninsured adults in Arkansas.
The uninsured usually seek care in the emergency room, often waiting to seek care until they are very ill. These emergency room costs are unpaid, burdening local hospitals all across the state. All of us fortunate to have insurance pay in the form of higher premiums and local taxes to support the status quo situation. The Medicaid expansion offers Arkansas a chance to change this inadequate system of care.
Better care for more people at less of a burden to local hospitals? Or cut millionaires' taxes? Interesting that both sides of this debate see it as a no-brainer.