“Smooth.” It’s not a word that’s been much associated with the Affordable Care Act, but that’s exactly the word the Arizona Republic chose to headline its story on the state’s Medicaid restoration and expansion so far. While not without some initial minor bugs of its own (mostly related to the interaction with federal databases), the Health-e-Arizona Plus online portal is up and running proficiently. It was unofficially reported that 30,000-40,000 people had been enrolled in AHCCCS by early November.
For AHCCCS to earn positive marks should come as no great surprise. Throughout its history, Arizona’s Medicaid system has proven itself equal to the task of operating efficiently and effectively. It is often upheld as a national role model for other states to emulate, and deservedly so.
The real task for AHCCCS isn’t function, but message. Medicaid got wrapped up in other Affordable Care Act confusion, leading enrollees to believe that they needed to use the Health Insurance Marketplace to re-enroll. Not true. The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the gold standard of state Medicaid programs, is still on track and working.