Only time will tell if President-elect Donald Trump can make America Great Again.
However, in the near term, he’s at least made politics interesting again.
From health care, to taxes, to regulatory policy (among other matters), the election of Trump has given conservatives a huge (one might even say yuuugee) opportunity to roll back many of the excesses of the Obama years.
Republicans now control the House, Senate, and Presidency — so it’s time to start discussing what they’re going to do with this opportunity.
One policy area that’s ripe for re-examination is Obamacare and the health care sector in general. Trump ran on repealing and replacing Obamacare; he has also said he’d be for giving states more flexibility to oversee their Medicaid programs by allowing for block grants.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said at a press conference today he would again ask the next administration for a “broad block grant-like waiver“ and that he expected Trump’s election to lead to a “longer (federal) legislative debate on the future of Obamacare.” However, he also said Trump’s election would ”not impact the immediate implementation of Arkansas Works on January 1.”
I expect immediate more flexibility to the states in the granting of waivers. Secondly, you’re going to have a longer legislative debate on the future of the Affordable Care Act…how it should be changed, replaced and what it should be replaced with. We can go back in a new administration and say we were denied (waivers) by the previous administration greater flexibility in managing our Medicaid budget. Now, that’s going to take some time because you’re going to have 30 other states asking for similar-type waivers. I expect fairly significant and dramatic changes in reference to health care policy and relationships to the state in the future.
On waiver requests he’d make to the Trump administration, Hutchinson said:
I asked for a broad block grant-like waiver from the Obama administration that was denied, so I can refocus that when the Trump administration is set up. I also asked for more stringent work requirements, and there are a few other items of reform that I asked for that weren’t granted under this administration that perhaps would be reviewed and looked at in the future administration. It takes time. These things don’t happen overnight with the confirmation and the transition. Arkansas Works is going to be implemented on schedule with the waivers we hope to be granted soon from the Obama administration.
When asked about what happens to Arkansas Works enrollees if Obamacare is repealed, Hutchinson said he “won’t speculate based on what could happen in the future, based on what Congress may or may not do with the Affordable Care Act.”
My speculation: Arkansas Works would end if the federal program (Obamacare) which funds it is repealed.
We’ll just have to wait until next year to see if Republicans in Congress and the White House follow through on their election-year promises in 2016.