Governor, Others: Health Bill Changes Not Enough – News – Booneville Democrat – Arkansas News

Governor, Others: Health Bill Changes Not Enough – News – Booneville Democrat – Arkansas News

LITTLE ROCK — The revamped health-care bill unveiled by Senate Republican leaders last week did not appear to satisfy the concerns of Arkansas’ governor and groups in the state that opposed the previous version.

End to Medicaid expansion funding

In an appearance Friday on CNBC, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who was in Providence, R.I., for the summer meeting of the National Governors Association, said the latest version of GOP legislation aimed at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act contains significant improvements over the previous version but retains a major cost shift to the states.

The bill would phase out federal funding for states’ Medicaid expansion programs. The federal government initially paid 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion and by 2020 will be paying 90 percent, but the Senate bill would reduce federal funding gradually to states’ regular Medicaid matching rate, which in Arkansas is 70 percent.

More than 300,000 low-income Arkansans have obtained private health insurance under Arkansas’ hybrid Medicaid expansion program. The state legislation that created the program includes a provision requiring it to end if the federal matching rate is reduced below the level established in the Affordable Care Act, which would happen under the Senate bill in 2021.

Hutchinson said Friday the reworked bill includes “a more fair distribution of federal money” and said he likes a provision allowing states to opt to receive traditional Medicaid funding as a block grant.

But the governor also said the bill’s reduction of the matching rate for Medicaid expansion is “a cost shift to the…

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