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The Latest In Arkansas-Obamacare News

Updated: Apr 13

As we do from time to time, I wanted to pass along some big stories from last week that you need to read. Here’s a look at how the Obamacare “private” option is playing out in state primaries and in at least one federal race. Also, two new reports highlight the pitfalls of Medicaid and Medicaid expansion. 1. Left-wing group campaigns for John Burris, Sue Scott. From ArkTimes (paywall):

The Arkansas Citizens First Congress, a grassroots group that tends to fall on the, let’s say, progressive side of environmental, education and financial issues, is sending mailers aimed at supporting a couple of Republican legislators who face tough primaries against opponents running all-Obamacare-all-the-time. The mailers are going to about 1,500 Republican voters for Rep. Sue Scott of Rogers and Rep. John Burris of Harrison, who’s in a three-way Senate primary for Sen. Johnny Key’s vacated seat.

2. From Forbes: Arkansas to seek a Medicaid bailout. Here’s what authors Josh Archambault and Jonathan Ingram had to say:

After months of assuring lawmakers and the public that costs were under control, Arkansas bureaucrats are now signaling their intent to go hat in hand to Washington, D.C., seeking a federal bailout of their failed ObamaCare expansion. The state’s Medicaid director recently said that Arkansas will ask the federal government to raise the spending caps agreed to in the waiver, despite a poor record of fiscal projections and budget neutrality. If the Obama administration approves the bailout, taxpayers in Arkansas may be spared some of the burden, but only at the expense of hardworking Americans in 49 other states. No wonder the Washington Times recently labeled the program a “national nightmare.”

3. Incumbent state Senators travel to Fort Smith to save the Obamacare “private” option. Recently, Senators David Sanders, Jon Woods, Jonathan Dismang, Eddie Joe Williams, and Jimmy Hickey traveled to western Arkansas to campaign for embattled state Senator Bruce Holland. Holland faces a tough primary challenge from Rep. Terry Rice. From The City Wire:

Sanders said one of the most important pieces of legislation Holland supported during the last session was the Private Option, which has been a point of contention during the election. Sanders and Dismang were co-authors of the legislation that created the so-called Private Option, using federal dollars intended for Medicaid expansion and instead using it to purchase health insurance for qualified Arkansas residents.

4. Has the “private” option given Mark Pryor political cover? From The Washington Post:

But Pryor’s campaign does not intend to let Cotton get away with ducking the true implications of his repeal stance. “We won’t shy away from making the case that Congressman Cotton’s position means kicking 150,000 working Arkansas off their private health insurance,” Pryor deputy campaign manager Erik Dorey tells me. Speaking of the private option, Dorey adds: “This is an example of good governance — Republicans and Democrats coming together to pass something that’s good for our state. This is exactly in Mark Pryor’s wheelhouse.”

We tried to warn them. 5. New study shows devastating results of Medicaid. From the University of Michigan:

Surgery patients covered by Medicaid come into their operations with worse health, do worse afterward, stay in the hospital longer and find themselves back in the hospital more often than those covered by private insurance, a new analysis by Medical School researchers finds. In fact, people with Medicaid coverage were twice as likely as other patients to have certain health risk factors before they had surgery, the researchers report in JAMA Surgery. They also had many more emergency operations, experienced two-thirds more complications after surgery, and used 50 percent more hospital resources than patients with other kinds of insurance.
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