One of the big debates in the 2013 legislative session will be whether or not Arkansas should expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act (Obamneycare) to cover 250,000 poor Arkansans who cannot afford health care.
Yesterday, two major Arkansas health care organizations waded into the debate and made the case for why Arkansas should expand Medicaid to save hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Arkansas Hospital Association and the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care publicly endorsed the Medicaid expansion on Tuesday by saying it would be good for the health of Arkansans and our economy.
The AHA noted that Arkansas hospitals lost $338 million dollars in 2010 by treating uninsured patients and they’re on track to lose $500 million in 2014. Expanding Medicaid would lower the number of uninsured patients who seek uncompensated care in emergency rooms that could otherwise otherwise be cared for in non-emergency room settings.
This loss of real money hurts Arkansas’ economy and costs jobs. The Arkansas State Department of Human Services last month released a very detailed estimate on how Arkansas participation in the Medicaid expansion would save $372 million from 2014 to 2012.
But don’t tell this to some Arkansas Republicans because some of them hate to hear the facts on how expanding Medicaid will save the state of Arkansas and Arkansas businesses literally hundreds of millions of dollars.
As the debate on Medicaid expansion continues, watch for more Arkansas health care organizations and leaders to endorse Medicaid expansion because it will help Arkansas’ poorest residents and save hundreds of millions of dollars.