Cheryl Smith, recruited from Utah to run Arkansas’s health insurance marketplace, told legislators yesterday that they sky was the limit the state could take on seeking waivers for “innovative” ways to deliver coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Stephens Media reports. Two points from the article that I noted:
* HIGH BIDDER PREFERENCE: Smith touts thé benefits of state operation as including the ability to bypass the low bid on contract services. Sadly, Arkansas has rich experience in the freedom to bypass low bidders for the better connected. Sure. Sometimes unqualified low-ball bids can be excluded on account of this. And sometimes political insiders get the job for more money based on connections, not demonstrable lack of superior ability. I’ll hold my applause.
* REAL INNOVATION: As an illustration of state freedom, Smith mentioned that Vermont is going to use the waiver process to implement single-payer health insurance. Sadly, I didn’t hear Smith or any Arkansas legislature say, “Hey, we could try that, too.” Too much profit for insurance companies would be lost in such a system. It’s a non-starter here.