Arkansas Medicaid, Big Changes Ahead 4/2/2012
The outcome of the President’s national health care program now rests with the United State Supreme Court. It is possible the court could strike down the entire law. While proponents of the law predict dire consequences if the law is struck down, those who oppose it now laud it as the opening of a national dialogue which has been long overdue. However, both sides seem to agree that if the law is struck down, most of the major provisions such as insurance of those with prior existing conditions will not be salvaged, though some of the programs popular with the open market may survive. An example of this is the program which allows students to remain on their parents’ insurance policy until they are 26 years of age. A number of groups and individuals feel that a court rejection of the law would result in chaos for hospitals, doctors and insurers who have already invested tens of millions of dollars in planning efforts. As this is an election year, it is probable that even if Congress did try to enact some of the minor provisions of the law they would be blocked. A number of states have moved forward in creating the HIEs (Health Insurance Exchanges) where consumers would be able to shop for coverage, but it seems very doubtful that these could continue without federal funds.
Arkansas is already planning to change the method by which doctors, health care vendors and hospitals are paid. They are planning to move away from a fee for service model to a health home model, which would reward them more for delivering better care that saves money by keeping patients healthier and out of the emergency rooms and hospitals. Hospitals and physicians are already paid less for Medicare and Medicaid patients, and some hospital administrators indicate they were counting on an influx of newly eligible Medicaid patients to shore up their ability to run more cost effective operations.
One way or the other BIG health care changes are ahead for Arkansas and her citizens. These changes are going to impact the lives of everyone from the patients to the providers of health care and your business. We can help you keep abreast of these changes by monitoring legislative committees, networking with the decision makers and helping you and your firm make the correct decisions.