LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — Arkansas Department of Human Services Director Cindy Gillespie is hoping a new baseline study effort can position state policymakers for better future decisions, and she’s still bullish on the state’s chances to gain federal approval of Arkansas Works.
Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, Gillespie, who has served during the tenure of Gov. Asa Hutchinson, said that the resignation of U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price over an air travel scandal is one major reason for the Arkansas Works delay.
“Our waiver, at the end of the day, has to be approved by the Secretary of HHS. The Secretary of HHS left. Tom Price,” said Gillespie.
“So that’s a hold up. As they were going through considering Graham-Cassidy and considering various versions of healthcare reform, all of those slowed down work on waivers, so I think there’s just a lot going on back there.”
Arkansas Works is the governor’s updated version of the private option, which expands Medicaid under provisions of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Gillespie said she is confident that the feds will eventually approve a waiver that Arkansas is seeking to shrink its Medicaid expansion population and to add work requirements to participants.
“The law allows us to do what we want to do,” she said.
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