Governor Tom Corbett’s Medicaid plan may very well become a reality thanks to -of all places – Arkansas. That’s because the Obama Administration has accepted the Arkansas plan to cover those people eligible for the Medicaid expansion with private insurance.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, announced over the weekend that it will accept Arkansas’ model of covering 200,000 of their uninsured residents with private insurance using funds originally intended for a Medicaid expansion. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius personally called Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe to tell him the news.
The Arkansas plan served as a model for Gov. Corbett’s private expansion idea, which he unveiled earlier this month. If HHS has approved the model for Arkansas, it stands to reason that it is likely that they will also approve “CorbettCare”, as it has come to be known.
This comes as welcome news to the Governor as his proposal has an uphill climb with the state’s voters. A Muhlenberg/Morning Call poll found only 22% of respondents favored Corbett’s approach over the Obama Administration’s preference to simply expand the federal Medicaid program.
There is, however, one problem. Unlike the plan in Arkansas, or a similar one in Iowa, Corbett’s proposal requires that beneficiaries be actively seeking employment. It is possible that HHS will reject this requirement as it opens the door for other states to attach any particular prerequisite in order to receive funds. It also may prove difficult to determine and define what actively seeking employment means, which could force HHS to reject the whole issue.