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Legislators call for new study on private-option costs

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published May 8, 2014 at 11:09 a.m.


Sen. Bryan King, R-Green Forest, holds up a sign critical of the costs of the state's private option Medicaid expansion while speaking at a news conference Thursday.

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.


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hah406 says... May 8, 2014 at 11:52 a.m.

This blowhard must be up for re-election. He has consistently fought against the Private Option without ever giving it a chance. And a new study, this quickly, will mean nothing. Fact is that the Private Option is helping people, it is keeping rural hospitals open, and reducing the burden placed on everyone by hospitals being forced to provide uncompensated care.

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HOTDEMN says... May 8, 2014 at 12:11 p.m.

I think that these Republican politicians should pay for these studies out of their own pockets. They have already blown millions of dollars (billions if you count the shutdown) on fighting against something that will be of real value to the country and most taxpayers are in favor of. All just to pander to the lunatic fringe on the right.

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AmericasDoomed says... May 8, 2014 at 3:38 p.m.

Typical liberal loons just throwing out "facts" with nothing to back it up. Just because you say it doesn't make it so.

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Goad says... May 8, 2014 at 5:27 p.m.

When r these idiots going to realize we either pay part of the cost for expanded Medicaid or Arkansans pay all of the cost thru charity care at providers who pass it on thru higher rates which means insurance costs go up. By eliminating coverage of Medicaid Arkansans go to ERs which further increases cost.

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Packman says... May 8, 2014 at 6:20 p.m.

Hey Goad - Your point about ER visits is absurd. 50 million people without healthcare insurance pre Obamacare. 45 million without health insurance after Obamacare. Do the math, Goad, and STFU.

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RBBrittain says... May 8, 2014 at 7:55 p.m.

@AmericasDoomed: You DO realize these are CONSERVATIVE "loons just throwing out 'facts' with nothing to back it up", right???

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Packman says... May 8, 2014 at 8:11 p.m.

Hey RBB - The estimate was $437. The actual was $490. What about that isn't fact? Does such a difference between estimate and actual not suggest a flawed estimate? As a taxpayer you should welcome the attempt to attain more accurate data. Oh, that's right, as a lib you favor the government teat and likely pay no income tax. No wonder saving tax money doesn't interest your ilk.

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T6 says... May 8, 2014 at 8:12 p.m.

Consider it another broken promise (one among many) from your Liar-in-Chief. The promise from the LIC was "Obamacare would decrease emergency room visits." According to the CEO of Tenet Healthcare Trevor Fetter, emergency room visits are still going up thanks to the expansion of Medicaid and rationed primary care visits.

When will the useful idiots wake up?
How much are you willing to be TAXED to pay for Obamacare? Or single payer because that's the original plan? It will get there when the Democrats deem the american people have suffered enough pain. They'll be there with the solution to Obamacare, Single Payer. More, BIGGER, government.
The federal government’s solution to every manufactured crisis is taxing more and spending more. If you think health insurance premiums are high now, wait until Congress has the power to tax using “healthcare for all.”
“Obamacare: To insure the uninsured, first we make the insured uninsured. Then we make the formerly insured pay more to become re-insured to insure the uninsured for free”.

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carpenterretired says... May 8, 2014 at 8:28 p.m.

The A.C.A. is the greatest healing of the sick and ministering to the poor since Medicare.

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GrimReaper says... May 8, 2014 at 11:42 p.m.


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