Two state legislators opposed to Arkansas' private option Medicaid expansion on Thursday said they will propose the state hire a new firm to study the costs of the program.
Sen. Bryan B. King, R-Green Forest, and Rep. Joe Farrer, R-Austin, spoke at a news conference at the state Capitol, calling a previous study on the financial impact of the private option flawed.
King said the state is "going down a bad road financially."
"We can't financially keep going at the rate we're going with this and keep signing people up and continue to not think it's not going to burden state governments," King said. "I hope that my colleagues start grasping the idea of how much financially devastating this going to be."
King at times during the news conference held up a sign reading "Over budget $100,000,000." He said that was based on the previous study, conducted by Arizona consulting firm Optumas, which predicted an average cost of enrollee to be $437 per month.
The state's Medicaid program said this week that it would make a monthly payment of $62.6 million, or $490.19 per each of the state's 127,766 private-option enrollees, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Thursday.
King, who called the Optumas numbers "bad guesses," said the cost differential is already $100 million and would be more if extrapolated to all the private-option enrollees expected to join the program.
Farrer said the new study should be conducted by an independent company that "doesn't have a dog in the fight."
Hiring a new firm could be approved by the Arkansas Legislative Council or the Joint Auditing Committee, King said.