Today, after a consistent record of voting “no” to the private option for Medicaid expansion, I changed my vote to “yes” for this fiscal session. As I stated on the House floor today, the plan will either prove to be a successful way of managing the Medicaid population or fail to deliver and become too great of a financial burden for the state to continue. Either way, by the time the 2015 general session rolls around, we should have a year’s worth of data and sufficient evidence to determine if the state can afford to fund this plan. The private option is based on a system of calculations that are projected to save the state significant money. However, time is needed to judge whether these projections will be shown as accurate or inaccurate. By the general session of 2015, we should have a good idea if the projections become accuracies.
In the meantime, a plan must be systematically developed as a replacement program in the event that the private option is not sustainable and fails. At the moment, there is not an adequate alternative to the private option with enough support to replace it. We have to move forward and maintain constant pressure to make sure that specific data is collected to give an accurate and undisputable accounting of the private option in its first year. At this point, it’s about all we can do.
In his column today, Jason Tolbert of Talk Business does a good job of explaining the current situation and why today’s vote was necessary so that we can move forward with the state’s business. Read Jason’s story here.
Rep. Kim D. Hammer