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Wyoming Legislators: Please Reject Arkansas


Wyoming legislators continue to look for options to cover our 85,000 uninsured though that number seems to have increased since the Affordable Care Act was implemented last month.  Almost 3,000 people have been canceled with their private insurance plan and several have sighted the President and his administration to blame.  Currently being discussed: the Arkansas model.


In discussing this option, Wyoming’s low population cost pool, and the potential pitfalls Wyoming would face; Christie Herrera, Vice President of Policy from the Foundation of Governmental Accountability, warns about these issues:




#1: Arkansas’s “Private Option” Is Still A Medicaid Expansion … And Washington Holds All the Cards

*225,000 more Arkansans (1 million total) will have government-run and -subsidized health care

*HHS: Arkansas’s “private option” must  look like Old Medicaid and will expire in just three years


#2: An Expanded Medicaid Program Will Replace Private Insurance for Most Medicaid-Eligible Arkansans

*As government-subsidized health care expands, privately paid-for health insurance will contract

*PPACA supporter Austin Frakt estimates that a traditional Medicaid expansion will crowd out 80% of private coverage—this number may be even higher with expansion via “private option”


#3: Rejecting the “Private Option” Means a Federal-Spending Cut of $18.9 Billion in Arkansas Alone

*All taxpayers pay federal, state, and local taxes … and federal spending is out of control

*Rejecting Medicaid expansion means $18.9 billion in federal tax savings over the next 10 years


#4: Arkansas Taxpayers Will Pay $1.6 Billion in State Costs

*This includes costs for new eligible’s, “woodwork effect,” and admin costs over the next 10 years

*Remember, actual costs for gov’t programs are almost always higher than what’s originally projected

*Arkansas will pay with a “bed tax” that Obama Administration officials want to reduce or eliminate


#5: Crowd Out of Schools, Roads, Police

*In Arkansas and nationally, Medicaid has eclipsed K-12 as the largest single share of state spending

*Every dollar for Medicaid expansion means one less dollar for other state funding priorities (or tax cuts)


#6: Arkansas Can’t Count on Federal Money

*With a $16 trillion debt, how likely is it that the federal government will keep its funding promises?

*Today, Medicaid spending represents 23% of the federal deficit; in 10 years, it will be more than half

*President Obama has called for shifting more Medicaid costs onto states with a “blended rate”

*Congressman Paul Ryan’s FY 2014 budget eliminates enhanced federal funding for Medicaid expansion


#7: No Take-Backs, No Do-Over’s: A Medicaid Funding “Trigger” Would Be Tough to Enforce

*The Obama and Beebe Administrations say Arkansas can expand Medicaid now and take it back later but the numbers show that Medicaid does nothing but grow—in bad economic times and in good


*From 1997-2011, Arkansas Medicaid enrollment more than doubled—at a time when the state’s population only grew by 9% and federal Medicaid funding remained relatively flat


#8: Medicaid Expansion Is Not Stimulus 2.0

*Like the failed federal stimulus, it is not “economic development” to tax the job-creating private sector

*Tax cuts/regulatory reform, not Medicaid expansion, will make Arkansas a better place to do business


#9: Other States Have Already Expanded Medicaid to Parents and Childless Adults—With Disastrous Results

*Medicaid expansion in Maine and Arizona cost much more than expected; enrolled more Medicaid patients than expected; did not reduce hospital charity care; and did not reduce the % of uninsured


#10: Rejecting Medicaid Expansion Is Both Good Policy and Good Politics

*The NYT endorsed Arkansas’s “private option” because it could “make it easier to carry out the flawed D.C. ACA and reduce the appetite among Congress to gut the law”


*FGA poll: 53% of Florida voters say they are less likely to support their state legislator if they vote for Medicaid expansion.


With this information, we hope that Wyoming legislators will consider rejecting this idea and continue focusing on the needs of the almost 90,000 uninsured Wyomingites for a plan that is right for Wyoming instead of looking to D.C. for answers.  Politics and political parties aside, the main concern should be the patients and Wyoming has almost 18% that are counting on our legislators to do something for their health.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  REFERENCE: Christie Herrera, Foundation for Governmental Accountability

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