We Just Have to Say Yes on Medicaid (Editorial)

In his “State of the State” address last week, Gov. Mike Beebe made a clear and logical appeal for expanding Medicaid as contemplated under Obamacare.

Since we are with him on this point and couldn’t say it better, we’re yielding this space to excerpts of his remarks:

“Here is what we know about expanded Medicaid. It would provide health insurance for up to 250,000 Arkansans who likely don’t have affordable coverage available to them now.

“For three years, beginning in 2014, the cost for insuring those Arkansans is picked up entirely by the federal government.

“A small state share kicks in beginning in 2017, and rises for three more years to a maximum of 10 percent in 2020. Benefits for some clients who currently receive Medicaid will shift from our current 30 percent share to the more generous federal-state split that accompanies expansion.

The result would be immediate savings in existing general revenue. That savings could be utilized to further prevent cuts in other, current Medicaid services. …

“Somebody said how are they paying for all of this stuff? Part of how they’re paying for Medicaid expansion is they’re cutting Medicare. And that happens whether you take the Medicaid expansion or not.

“Without help, some of our hospitals in Arkansas, particularly rural hospitals, could be forced to close. This would be devastating to our small towns, both for the care of their residents and for their future economic prospects.

“That doesn’t need to happen. The money is available; it’s our decision whether to use it. Expanding Medicaid can keep hospitals open and operational.

“It can give 250,000 Arkansans the chance to lead healthier, more productive lives.

“It can ease uncompensated care and relieve the hidden tax that we all pay. It will create additional private-sector jobs. We just have to say yes.”