Sen. Jonathan Dismang (R-Beebe), a member of the Senate Public Health Committee, says he's focused on finding a long-term solution to the state's Medicaid program.

Dismang, appearing on the daily Talk Business Arkansas update, said he no longer wants a band-aid approach to funding Medicaid, but a long-term policy solution.

“The one thing I don't want to do is what's happened in the past. The state of Arkansas has received a substantial amount of one-time money through the stimulus funds and we propped up our Medicaid program with that rather than tackling on the reforms that needed to be made,” Dismang said. “We should shape policy that allows people to have a part in their own health care.”

Dismang said he felt closing the current $50-55 million Medicaid funding gap with surplus money was “doable.” He said he expected reform measures – especially aimed at diminishing “waste, fraud and abuse” – would be filed soon.

“That's the largest amount of feedback – constituents believing that the system is broke from what they've seen and wanting us to do something about that,” Dismang said.

He also said he felt the current pulse of members was to let the federal government run the state's insurance exchange.

On Medicaid expansion, Dismang asserted that letting eligible participants at 100-138% of the federal poverty level receive subsidies through the federal health insurance exchange instead of joining the Medicaid rolls may make more economic sense.

“It definitely would shift – in that bracket alone- the cost for coverage to the federal government, and I don't believe that is a bad thing,” he said.

You can view Dismang's full interview below or listen to an mp3 here3.

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Roby Brock
Roby Brock is the Editor-in-Chief and Host of Talk Business & Politics. He can be reached by e-mail at Roby@TalkBusiness.net. Follow him on Twitter: @RobyBrock.