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Expanding Medicaid: Easy and effective

JoanAlker [1]My colleague Joan Alker of the Georgetown Center for Children and Families writes in the HuffPost today about how easy it is for low income people to enroll in Medicaid [2] in the many states where the program was expanded  under the Affordable Care Act, especially compared to the more complex process of enrolling in the ACA health care exchanges.  Arkansas – where a Republican legislature approved the expansion [3] – is enrolling people in Medicaid easily:

For example, in Arkansas the eligible received a letter in the mail that they simply had to sign and return in order to enroll. Let me say that again – they had to sign a simple letter and return it. Does that sound like the exchange enrollment process to you?

Interestingly in Arkansas, the majority of those signing up for Medicaid have not gone to the website to pick a plan – which is a much more complicated task analogous to what exchange enrollees must do. Most of these folks will likely be auto-assigned.

As Alker writes, the experience of Arkansas and other states that have expanded Medicaid is instructive. Thousands of people are signing up every day and  finally have insurance coverage.  And that, after all, is what the new health care law is all about.  North Carolina – are you listening?