Arkansas is attempting to terminate Planned Parenthood‘s Medicaid provider contract, in clear violation of federal law. That could lead to a showdown over Medicaid funds coming in to the state, and at least a few Republican lawmakers seem happy to bankrupt the state and snatch coverage away from the state’s disabled, elderly, and children. Sen. Bart Hester, perhaps misunderstanding what’s at stake, tweeted that such an outcome would be “so great” and the “best news of the year.”
Remember, the overwhelming majority of Medicaid spending in the state comes from the federal government. One possible outcome to Gov. Asa Hutchinson‘s stunt is that the feds will threaten to cut off the tap and no longer provide any Medicaid funds to the state if Arkansas remains in non-compliance with federal regulations. To be clear: that would be all Medicaid money, including funding for the disabled, for the elderly in nursing homes, for low-income children, etc.
In that scenario, there is no doubt that the state would cave. We’re talking about billions of dollars going to the state’s neediest citizens, much of it to programs that even the stingiest Republicans have no interest in cutting. The governor is not going to bankrupt the state’s health care system over $50,000 in Medicaid reimbursements going to Planned Parenthood.
Hester, a diehard opponent of the private option, sees it differently. Since the private option is funded by Medicaid dollars, Hester sees this nightmare scenario as a happy outcome.
Since he’s asking for clarification, I’m happy to help. What he thinks would be “so great” is not just kicking more than 200,000 Arkansans off of the private option. He’s also saying that it would be “so great” to kick elderly Medicaid beneficiaries out of nursing homes, kick disabled Arkansans off of their health insurance, and kick hundreds of thousands of kids off of ARKids. That’s what Hester is rooting for. FYI.
Here’s another similar tweet from Hester:
Again, Hester says it’s the “best news of the year” if the Republicans’ Planned Parenthood stunt leads to the state losing billions in Medicaid funding, which would not only kick more than 200,000 off of the private option but also victimize the elderly, the disabled, and children. I have to guess that he hasn’t quite put this together. Hester’s sentiment was favorited by Rep. Jim Dotson and also by Sen. Jim Hendren. Hendren is a chairman of the Task Force charged with health care reform and coming up with a new plan to offer coverage for the state’s most vulnerable citizens. So that’s promising.