Here’s the deal on Medicaid expansion:
Gov. Mike Beebe told a few legislative leaders early this week that he has received signals from the federal Health and Human Services Department that Arkansas would be permitted to do some flexible things with expansion, including things supposedly forbidden, and that he’s going to go meet with Secretary Kathy Sebelius today and get the straight skinny.
He expects to return, or intends to return, or hopes to return, with one of these certainties:
1. We have license to design a partial Medicaid expansion covering less than 138 percent of poverty so long as all persons in that income range have the opportunity to go into the subsidized health exchange and even, conceivably, get their small premium obligation paid by the state, which would be less than Medicaid.
2. We have been told to design whatever we want and then submit a plan for its waiver.
The governor and legislative insiders profess to be frustrated at this moving target.
I don’t think it’s all that moving. I think the feds want states to get everybody covered, and they’re going to bend but not break on any red-state particulars.
So we await the governor’s return.