Statement from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) Executive Director Rich Huddleston:
AACF strongly supports the Private Option. Over 100,000 Arkansans now have affordable health coverage and the financial security that comes along with it, some for the first time in their lives. We do not want to see that go away. However, we believe the amendments adopted today are a blatant attempt to create major barriers to the new health coverage plan for low-income Arkansans approved by the legislature on a bipartisan basis just last year. These amendments could have a chilling effect on outreach and enrollment.
There are still roughly 400,000 uninsured Arkansans out there who have not yet signed up for coverage through the Private Option or the Marketplace. We should make it easier for Arkansans to get affordable coverage, not more difficult. We believe that purposefully creating barriers to enrollment is not only bad public policy, but bad for the future health of Arkansans and the state’s workforce. But we can’t let these amendments stop the progress we have made. It is time to work together and move forward on the private option so all Arkansans can have access to the health care coverage they need.