More Medicaid Follies

Those rooting for some progress among states towards implementing the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion were cheered last week by the Arkansas legislature’s final approval of the so-called “Arkansas Plan” or “private option” negotiated with the federal government by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, which would expand Medicaid while converting it into a private insurance program.

But elsewhere, the situation’s not so clear. The Florida legislature is about to adjourn for the year with the House and Senate deadlocked on Medicaid expansion (the Senate has passed a version of the “Arkansas Plan,” while the House is insisting on a much smaller, state-funded Medicaid expansion). It looks like only a special session could salvage an expansion measure. Republicans in both Houses, of course, have already rejected Gov. Rick Scott’s flip-flop in favor of just carrying out the expansion without additional moves towards privatizing Medicaid.

And as WaPo’s Sarah Kliff explains today in a complicated but must-read post, Montana has apparently lost the chance to approve a Medicaid expansion thanks to an erroneously cast vote by a tired Democratic legislator. The legislature there is about to adjourn until 2015, so it looks like tough luck for 70,000 Montanans would would have benefitted from the expansion.

It makes the U.S. House GOP’s efforts to “cannibalize” the Obamacare implementation fund even more interesting, eh?

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.