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Arkansas Delegation Expresses Support for Arkansas’s 1115 Waiver Request for Obamacare Relief

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Washington, October 11, 2017 | comments

WASHINGTON – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) along with Senator John Boozman (R-Arkansas) and Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-01), French Hill (AR-02), Steve Womack (AR-03), and Bruce Westerman (AR-04) today sent a letter to acting Health and Human Services Secretary, Don Wright, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma expressing strong support for Arkansas’s 1115 Waiver Request for relief from Obamacare’s Medicaid requirements.

“We appreciated the Administration’s outreach urging Arkansas to pursue innovative Medicaid reforms. In particular, HHS and CMS suggested that Arkansas prioritize tax payer dollars to protect the most vulnerable populations. Arkansas has followed this guidance and designed a solution that will reduce our Medicaid rolls by over 60,000, increase the sustainability of Arkansas Works, and encourage more Arkansans to enter the workforce,” the letter reads. 

Arkansas is seeking federal approval to prioritize its Medicaid program to focus on the most vulnerable Arkansans, while helping others enter the workforce.

The letter goes to on to say that “by empowering Arkansas to make the changes needed to put its health care programs on a better path, the Administration will demonstrate its leadership in reducing Medicaid spending and advancing conservative health care reform.” 

The full text of the letter can be found below or by clicking here.

 

The Honorable Don Wright, Acting Secretary

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

200 Independence Avenue, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20201

 

The Honorable Mick Mulvaney, Director

The Office of Management and Budget

725 17th Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20503

 

Administrator Verma

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

200 Independence Avenue, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20201

 

Re: Arkansas’ Pending 1115 Waiver Amendments

 

Dear Acting Secretary Wright, Director Mulvaney, and Administrator Verma,

 

We write to express our strong support for the changes Arkansas is seeking to the Arkansas Works Section 1115 Medicaid Demonstration Project. The state submitted this proposal to Health and Human Services on June 30, 2017.  

We urge immediate approval of Arkansas’ request to ensure that Arkansas has sufficient time to implement program changes and provide notice to impacted beneficiaries. With 2018 rapidly approaching, approval can provide certainty for our citizens, health care providers, and health insurance carriers.

We appreciated the Administration’s outreach urging Arkansas to pursue innovative Medicaid reforms. In particular, HHS and CMS suggested that Arkansas prioritize tax payer dollars to protect the most vulnerable populations. Arkansas has followed this guidance and designed a solution that will reduce our Medicaid rolls by over 60,000, increase the sustainability of Arkansas Works, and encourage more Arkansans to enter the workforce.

Arkansas is seeking changes including (1) lowering the income limit for Arkansas Works eligibility from 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL) to 100% FPL; (2) establishing work requirements as a condition of eligibility for able-bodied adults that do not have children at home; (3) and implementing the state’s waiver of retroactive eligibility.

 By approving this request, the Administration can advance its commitments to federalism and flexible solutions for improving our Medicaid program.

Earlier this year, Governor Hutchinson called a special session of the Arkansas General Assembly to authorize this waiver amendment request and instructed the state’s Department of Human Services and Insurance Department to work with stakeholders to prepare for implementation. Our state has invested significant resources in this effort, but federal approval is needed to continue moving forward.

By empowering Arkansas to make the changes needed to put its health care programs on a better path, the Administration will demonstrate its leadership in reducing Medicaid spending and advancing conservative health care reform.   

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) 

Senator John Boozman (R-Arkansas) 

Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-01)

Congressman French Hill (AR-02) 

Congressman Steve Womack (AR-03) 

Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04) 

 

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