The co-author of an Arkansas plan that used federal Medicaid dollars to help low-income people buy private health insurance was in South Carolina last week to pitch the plan to lawmakers here.
Republican Arkansas State Rep. Charlie Collins told South Carolina Radio Network that, unlike most Medicaid plans under the Affordable Care Act (or “Obamacare”), his state’s plan can be customized. “Free market principles, individual choice, individual responsibility and those types of factors are used to build the private option,” Collins said.
South Carolina senators included language in their budget proposal last week that would have the state study ways to help its uninsured. South Carolina Republicans generally oppose expanding the eligibility requirements for Medicaid, as many other states have done, out of concern for the unknown future cost.
Collins said his state’s plan could eventually be the path for Republicans on a national scale. “We’ve actually created the model which we think can be evolved into the replacement for Obamacare,” said Collins.
“The Arkansas Private Option can be adapted and we have already have a list of the major elements that would need to be changed in order to make it a much more market oriented, less regulated and less expensive approach to the health care system,” Collins said.
Collins said the plan expanded coverage to some of Arkansas’ sickest individuals and saving hospitals millions in uncompensated care costs.