New ‘Private’ Option Revelations Spark Controversy

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This morning, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette revealed that the costs for the Obamacare “private” option for April have increased once again. Last week, Forbes reported that the total cost for the premiums for the month of March was $485.77 per person. This represents an 11% cost increase over the original projections. However, this figure included only the monthly premium costs, omitting costs for “wrap-around” services that are not covered by enrollees’ insurance plans. For the month of April, … [Read more...]

No Competition, Cost Overruns — Where Do We Go From Here On The ‘Private’ Option?

Capitalism for dummies

You’ll probably find this hard to believe, but things aren’t going to so well with the Obamacare “private” option: just last week, my colleague Dan Greenberg wrote about the lack of competition in the program. Forbes had a national piece last week about the cost overruns of the program -- so far, after just a few short months, it’s currently 11% over original projections. In response to these developments, many lawmakers have been proactive in trying to figure out what’s driving the cost … [Read more...]

New Report Highlights Candidates’ Positions On Policy

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I know many of you have been relying on The Arkansas Project for news and analysis of the ongoing GOP legislative primaries around the state. While I’ve been conducting interviews with candidates, my colleague Dan Greenberg over at AAI has been helping to compile a comprehensive report that highlights where candidates stand on many more policy issues. (Well, at least it highlights where candidates are willing to say they stand.) This survey was conducted by Commerce In Action. They sent a … [Read more...]

The Competition Vacuum in the “Private” Option

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You might recall that one of the selling points of the “private” option was market competition. Competition among insurance carriers was going to lower prices and improve the quality of services. Indeed, the actuaries who estimated the costs of the “private” option relied on the low prices that competition would create. Our insurance commissioner even explained that the high number of carriers that were participating – four! – was triggered by the “private” option. In reality, market … [Read more...]

Medicaid Expansion Medley (Podcast)

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This week on The Arkansas Project Podcast: House passes Obamacare "private" option funding Rep. Hammer explains his "private" option vote Rep. Farrer reports the PO is already over spending caps Sen. Rapert says Obama is terrified of PO Rep. Mayberry compares to PO to "jumping out of a burning building" Hillary loves the PO! Sen. Key moves funding from traditional Medicaid to PO fund … [Read more...]

Mark Pryor’s Staff Is…Looking For Work?

Pryor campaign manager Randy Massanelli at campaign HQ. (Photo: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

There has been much discussion of the position of University of Arkansas lobbyist over the last few weeks. State Senator Johnny Key has been the focus of various news reports after announcing that he would not seek re-election and instead take a shot at becoming the next U of A leech government relations expert. Recently former Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr has also made some waves after he submitted his application for the gig. (Perhaps he has a future in sales as well.) However, yet another … [Read more...]

FGA: State Taxpayers ‘On The Hook’ For Millions In ‘Private’ Option Cost Overruns

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Our guest article yesterday from Rep. Joe Farrer revealed the unanticipated costs to Arkansas taxpayers of the Obamacare-Medicaid “private” option. In short, the program is already pricier than promised -- and, despite promises that it would cost state taxpayers “nothing” in the first three years, the impact looks like it’s about to blow a hole in the state budget. Jonathan Ingram of the Foundation for Government Accountability has released a new paper that outlines the budgetary problems … [Read more...]

Rep. Farrer: “Private” Option Costs Already Exceeding Federal Caps

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The following is a guest article from State Representative Joe Farrer (R-Cabot): When we passed the Private Option Medicaid expansion last year, we did so under the explicit promise that the state taxpayer would bear no costs of the Medicaid expansion for at least the first three years. But what was promised during the legislative debate and what was negotiated between the Beebe and Obama administrations are very different. The Obama administration capped federal Private Option funding with … [Read more...]