Private Option as an alternative to Obamacare? – PANTS ON FIRE!

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Private optionRobert Thompson (Democrat candidate in Senate District 20) makes an argument about the Private Option that Democrat candidates in your area may be making too.  Thompson’s newspaper ad that starts out with the word “TRUTH.” But, then mischaracterizes the Obamacare Private Option in order to pretend it is not part of Obamacare.

The ad says: “Robert Thompson did not vote for “Obamacare.”  He voted for the Private Option, an alternative to Obamacare supported by a Governor Mike Beebe and a majority of Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature. Pants on fire! This is an argument other candidates made without success in the primaries.

For the Private Option to be an “alternative” instead of actually being Obamacare, these government agencies must all be wrong:

  • U.S. GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING OFFICE The agency said “In approving Arkansas’s Medicaid Section 1115 demonstration, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gave the state the authority to test whether providing premium assistance to purchase private coverage offered on the health insurance exchange will improve access to care for individuals newly eligible for Medicaid as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).”[1] (Obamacare)
  • U.S. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT’s own website says Arkansas is a Medicaid Expansion State.[2] (Obamacare)
  • ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES. DHS’s waiver application for the demonstration project:
    • Sought approval for the Private Option because the 1115 waiver which is for obtaining flexibility on financing Medicaid or delivering Medicaid services and is not for creating a program unrelated to Medicaid.[3]
    • Refers to Arkansas Medicaid expansion. [4] (Obamacare)
    • Makes references to the Affordable Care Act [5] (Both supporters and opponent call the”Obamacare”)

The Private option is NOT an alternative to Obamacare!  It is Obamacare Medicaid Expansion.  Arkansas received a waiver under Obamacare Medicaid Expansion to allow a “demonstration project” that delivers Medicaid benefits through an insurance company instead of directly from Medicaid.  The “demonstration project” is more expensive.

Now that it is clear that the Private Option IS Obamacare, ask candidates how Arkansas taxpayers are going to pay for the Obamacare Private Option when Arkansas isn’t even reimbursing counties for housing state inmates!

 

By the way, Robert Thompson’s ad says the [Obamacare] Private Option was supported by a “majority of Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature”.  To be more accurate, the Democrats unanimously voted to create the Obamacare Private Option, however, a majority of the Republicans opposed creation of the Obamacare Private Option.

1. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-689R

2. https://www.healthcare.gov/medicaid-chip/medicaid-expansion-and-you/#state=arkansas

3. http://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Waivers/Waivers.html

4. http://medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Waivers/1115/downloads/ar/ar-private-option-pa.pdf  see page 3 of waiver “absent the demonstration, Arkansas’ Medicaid expansion would rely on the existing Medicaid delivery system”

5. http://medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Waivers/1115/downloads/ar/ar-private-option-pa.pdf – references to the Affordable Care Act appear on pages 11, 12, and 29