California Healthline: Will This State Be the First To Expand Obamacare — and Then Take It Away?

by Dan Diamond

Can it still be called “the Arkansas model” if it’s not actually Arkansas’ model?

Scarcely a year ago, the state seemed on the verge of jump-starting Republican support for Obamacare. Facing resistance from his GOP-controlled Legislature, Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe hammered out a deal to use federal funds to expand health coverage through the private insurance market, rather than under the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.

The so-called private option was hailed as a viable plan that would appeal to GOP leaders holding more than two dozen statehouses — and holding out against Obamacare — across the nation. Arkansas subsequently obtained a special CMS waiver last fall to make the plan real. And since 2014 began, nearly 100,000 state residents have taken advantage of the private option to obtain health coverage.

But other states have been slow to deploy the Arkansas model, even as the private option itself — which needs to be renewed to continue past June — is suddenly in trouble.

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  • LAAAC is managed by St. Barnabas Senior Services; Funded, in part, by Archstone Foundation.
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