In the News: State Lawmakers Talk Medicaid Expansion

A few Arkansas legislators were featured in a story this week by The Washington Post regarding the battle over Medicaid expansion in the state. Incoming Senate president Michael Lamoureux said “This is the number one issue. And in 10 years this is by far the most difficult one we’ve ever dealt with.”

More from The Post:

The national implications loom just as large. No provision is more central to achieving the health-care law’s aim of extending coverage to the uninsured than its expansion of Medicaid. Under the new rules, beginning in 2014 eligibility for the program would be opened to people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $30,657 for a family of four.

The law calls for the federal government to foot the the entire bill for covering the newly eligible for the first three years. After that the federal match phases down slightly, reaching 90 percent by 2020.

State Senator Cecile Bledsoe also weighed in, questioning whether the federal government can be counted on to keep their commitment: “With all the budget pressures facing Congress members, how can she be sure they won’t shift more of the burden to states down the road?”

“At this point I don’t see anyone willing to take a chance on what the federal government might or might not do,” she said. “We’re not going to put more than 250,000 people on our Medicaid rolls, then pull them off.”

Read the full story at The Washington Post.