The Washington Post

Arkansas is the Best State in America


Surveys show that most Americans disapprove of the Affordable Care Act and its mandate requiring adults to purchase health insurance. But despite the opposition, we’re complying with the law: The number of uninsured Americans is dropping precipitously.

No state has made progress faster than Arkansas. A new Gallup survey released this past week shows that the percentage of the state’s population without insurance dropped nearly in half, down from 22.5 percent in 2013 to 12.4 percent today.

Of course, a big part of Arkansas’ success stems from the fact that the state had so much ground to make up. Before the Affordable Care Act, the state’s Medicaid program covered fewer low-income residents than that of almost any other state; the program was meant to cover only children, the disabled and those whose medical bills sapped their cash reserves.

Expanding Medicaid, therefore, made more additional Arkansans eligible than similar expansion did in other states, said MaryBeth Musumeci, associate director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Before the expansion, only Texas had more uninsured residents.

The state used various means to identify all those newly eligible enrollees. Authorities contacted low-income residents already receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, who would also qualify for Medicaid under the expansion, and helped them opt in to health coverage. And the state ran television advertising during football games and other high-profile events to encourage enrollees.

Read the full story here.

Reid Wilson covers national politics and Congress for The Washington Post. He is the author of Read In, The Post’s morning tip sheet on politics.

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Republicans debate tonight. The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
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The Fix asks The State's political reporter where the most important region of the state is.
The State's Andy Shain says he could talk about Charleston, which represents a little bit of everything the state has to offer from evangelicals to libertarians, and where Ted Cruz is raising more money than anywhere else. In a twist, Marco Rubio is drawing strong financial support from more socially conservative Upstate. That said, Donald Trump is bursting all the conventional wisdom in the state. So maybe the better answer to this question is, "Wherever Trump is."
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Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

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Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

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