States need more flexibility from health care reform, says Arkansas governor

JUDY WOODRUFF: We turn now to another health care story, this one the ongoing political battle to replace Obamacare.

The U.S. Senate is beginning to write its own reform bill, and discovering there are some big differences of opinion over what Republicans passed in the House.

Earlier this month, we spoke with Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado about efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Today, we hear from a Republican. And our Lisa Desjardins has that.

LISA DESJARDINS: As part of our ongoing look at what’s at stake in health care for those closest to the problem, we’re now joined by Asa Hutchinson, the Republican governor from Arkansas.

Our viewers will recall that Arkansas was, of course, one of the states to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.

Governor Hutchinson, thank you for joining us.

Now, you’re in an interesting position. You have opposed the Affordable Care Act, but also you and your predecessor, as we just said, supported the expansion. And because of those things, we have seen uninsurance rates in your state get slashed in half under the Affordable Care Act.

What do you think of the Affordable Care Act right now? Does it need full repeal?

GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON, R-Ark.: Well, we need to change what we have. It doesn’t work completely.

For example, we wanted to reform the Medicaid expansion in Arkansas with a simple work requirement, just lick we have on the SNAP program, but under Obamacare, the previous administration wouldn’t give us that requirement.

We needed to control the cost more. We’re unable to do that whenever it’s mandatory that you cover everybody up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. And so we’re trying to concentrate limited resources in Arkansas. We don’t have the flexibility we need under the current program.

So, yes, I supported a change in it, and I applaud the House for starting the debate with passing a repeal and a replacement. But we need to obviously do more, and I’m looking for…

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