Arkansas health insurance law provides alternative to expansion of Medicaid program
The Affordable Care Act has seen no shortage of controversy and challenge in the U.S. While some states have worked to unseat the federal law, despite it being upheld by the Supreme Court, Arkansas has been one of the few that has been working for alternatives regarding the provisions outlined in the law. Earlier this year, Arkansas began developing a plan to support its private health insurance exchanges as a suitable alternative to expanding its Medicaid program that would offer affordable health insurance coverage to its residents.
Law meant to circumvent need to expand Medicaid
This week, Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe has signed a bill into law concerning the state’s efforts to extend health insurance coverage to more people throughout the state. The law allows the state to make use of federal funds allotted to the Medicaid program to purchase private health insurance coverage for some 250,000 people. This coverage will be purchased through private insurers as well as those participating in the state’s health insurance exchange, which the federal government will be operating.
State officials to seek support from HHS
When this initiative was introduced earlier in the year, Governor Beebe issued a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services concerning the matter. The HHS claimed that this measure would serve as a suitable alternative to a provision of the Affordable Care Act that required the state to expand its Medicaid program. State representatives plan to travel to Washington D.C. in order to reaffirm the support of the HHS.
Arkansas may serve as a powerful example for other states
The move has sent ripples throughout the country concerning compliance with the Affordable Care Act. States that have been opposing the law, such as Texas and Louisiana, are looking at the Arkansas initiative with interest. Arkansas may serve as a strong example of what can be done in order to comply with the Affordable Care Act and make health insurance more available to more people without having to strictly adhere to some of the controversial provisions of the law itself.