I’ll leave it up to my colleague and longtime Medicaid waiver expert Joan Alker to opine on the differences between today’s Government Accounting Office report on the Arkansas Medicaid waiver’s financial predictions and the US Department of Health and Human Services financial model for the state. However, I will just make these three points about the Medicaid expansion in Arkansas:
1. 194,257 people have enrolled in the Medicaid expansion “private option” program in Arkansas. By definition these are very low-income folks (below 138% federal poverty level) who were uninsured. And according to the Gallup nationwide poll last month Arkansas has the sharpest drop in the rate of uninsured people in the nation.
2. Early progress in Arkansas showed at the end of April of this year in a survey of 42 hospitals, uninsured hospital admissions were down 30 percent.
3. Real people in Arkansas are having their lives changed by finally having health coverage. Just check out the video from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families letting Sherri Thomas, a small business owner in Walnut Ridge, AR, tell her story about how the private option has changed her life.