If your idea of a good time is watching adult Bernie Sanders supporters weep or getting lectured on public policy by Sarah Silverman, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) convention in Philadelphia is the place to be this week.
The DNC just finalized their party platform late last week. One change called for making Obamacare Medicaid expansion waivers more “flexible.”
The final version of the Democratic Party’s platform released this afternoon includes an expansion of state Obamacare waivers and a commitment to repeal the health care law’s Cadillac tax.
The platform called on “removing barriers” to an existing Obamacare waiver program to let states experiment with universal coverage. It calls for scrapping Obamacare’s excise tax on high-cost workplace health insurance plans, as Hillary Clinton supports, and finding revenue to offset the massive cost of repeal.
If this argument sound familiar, it’s because pro-Medicaid expansion Republicans in Arkansas have spent the last two years saying the Obamacare waiver process was a way to make Obamacare more conservative.
These conservative reforms never materialized — so these Republicans renamed the Medicaid expansion program earlier this year, and then proclaimed victory.
Democrats are now saying: let’s use the waiver process to make Obamacare more like a single-payer system.
Naomi Lopez Bauman, Director of Healthcare Policy at the Goldwater Institute, told The Arkansas Project in an interview Tuesday that the DNC’s platform changes were just more empty promises regarding Obamacare.
The bottom line is they still want D.C. strings attached to how states cover, insure, price, and offer health insurance coverage. (Obamacare) was passed in the dark of night and it was a party line vote. They don’t really want flexibility. They don’t really want other ideas. I think what they want is to advertise it as flexible and something other states might want to sign on to. In reality, when you take a look at what (the federal government) has actually been approving in terms of flexibility, it is not what a lot of states would be looking to do in order to provide health care access and affordability in order to address the cost of care — which is something that’s completely unaddressed in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
To put it another way: the DNC convention may be halfway across the country in Philadelphia, but it still sounds a lot like the discussions about Medicaid expansion right here in the Natural State.
To get a better idea of the lack of flexibility states have when expanding Medicaid, read here about the official waiver request sent to the Department of Human Services last month.