Gov. Nathan Deal’s campaign has responded to Jason Carter’s suggestion that Georgia could adopt an Arkansas-style Medicaid expansion plan, explaining the Natural State’s example isn’t one we should follow:
Senator Jason Carter vowed his support today for a Medicaid expansion plan that’s even more expensive than the one offered by President Obama. The so-called “Private Option,” adopted by Arkansas, would saddle taxpayers with higher costs and limit patient access to quality care.
“Despite Obamacare proponents’ claims, the Medicaid expansion ‘deal’ Arkansas struck with the federal government is an unmitigated disaster,” said Jen Talaber, Deal campaign spokeswoman. “In fact, the Arkansas legislature had to vote five times before narrowly agreeing to continue to fund expansion this year. Billed as an alternative to ‘traditional’ Medicaid expansion, the plan provides no meaningful flexibility, no true private coverage, and higher costs for taxpayers now and well into the future.
“Worse, Arkansas is responsible for all cost overruns. So much for claims the federal government would foot 100 percent of the bill. The Private Option is already so over-budget, some projections show the program costing tens of millions above federal spending caps this year alone.
“In order to cope with the price tag and balance the state budget (something Washington, D.C., doesn’t worry about), Arkansans must choose between tax hikes or cuts to education and public safety.
“Coverage doesn’t equal access to care. Senator Carter is doubling down on a broken system. Many health care providers won’t see Medicaid patients because it reimburses them below the cost of care. Under the Carter plan, our most vulnerable populations will compete with hundreds of thousands more people for those limited number of slots.
“Senator Carter also criticizes any discussion of Obamacare’s harmful longterm effects as “the worst of Washington politics.” In reality, Arkansans are the ones living with the worst of Washington politics, and patients and taxpayers paying the price. We’ve only begun to see the consequences of this costly mistake. It is one that Georgians can’t-and won’t-repeat.”