A statement from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families Executive Director Rich Huddleson:
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families commends Arkansas lawmakers for supporting the Private Option. An overwhelming majority of our senators and representatives voted for approval. The appropriation also contains funding for Medicaid and ARKids First, which provide hundreds of thousands of Arkansans with affordable health coverage. Because of today’s vote, up to 250,000 Arkansans will be able to get affordable health coverage and the sense of security that comes with it. More than 105,000 people have already enrolled and will see their coverage continue.
The Private Option will have a positive impact on our state budget. The Department of Human Services says it could save over $600 million over the next decade – funding that could go to pre-K, education, after-school programs, or other services that help our children. We still believe amendments restricting outreach and enrollment efforts are bad public policy, but we’re happy to see this matter resolved. Arkansans are currently able to sign up for coverage through access.arkansas.gov/ or www.healthcare.gov. In-person assisters and navigators are also available to help all around the state.
We want to thank Arkansas lawmakers for coming together on this issue that is so critical to our state’s children and families.