by David Ramsey
Back in the summer, we noted a potential game-changer in the Medicaid expansion debate: the Arkansas Department of Human Services projects that accepting the expansion will actually SAVE money for the state. The Washington Post even trumpeted the DHS study as the most detailed look at expansion’s impact on state budgets.
It turns out that the fiscal case for expansion is even stronger. In the current debate about cuts proposed by DHS to plug the state Medicaid program’s impending budget shortfall, DHS has been using updated numbers for projected savings from expansion for 2014 and 2015. This got us to wondering whether the rest of the numbers have been updated. I called DHS and they confirmed that they have done a new, updated projection this month.
They provided us with a spreadsheet with the updated numbers and they paint a picture that may embolden proponents of expansion. The two big things to note: projected savings from 2014 to 2021 jump from $372 million to $629 million. And while the old report projected that expansion would start costing the state money in 2021, the new report projects savings year after year.
I explain all the details in this week's Reporter.
p.s. The spreadsheet with the new figures is mis-labeled with a July date, but the folks at DHS confirmed that these are in fact the new numbers they came up with this month.