Since July, a grim drumbeat has sounded from Arkansas: thousands of people losing their health insurance every month, disenrolled from Medicaid and “locked out” from rejoining until next year. This past June Arkansas began implementation of a new set of work and community engagement requirements involving new monthly reporting requirements.
After expanding Medicaid, eight states (Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia) are expected to achieve budgetary savings and revenue gains exceeding $1.8 billion by the end of 2015, according to a report published yesterday. And that’s even though these states are fairly early into their Medicaid expansion.
States that have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act are seeing major budget savings, according to reports released in the past month. These budget savings coupled with new data linking Medicaid expansion to job growth in the health care sector add to the reasons why the program makes good sense for states.
Recently, despite initial opposition, significant pressure from political interest groups, and the daunting task of getting support from the required 75 percent of legislators, the Arkansas legislature voted “yes” on the Medicaid expansion. This victory was made possible by an effective advocacy campaign that mobilized the people of Arkansas to call upon their elected leaders to do the right thing—an ideal strategy in a state where the motto is, “The People Rule.”