Posted by Anna Strong on January 23rd 2014
The second video in our #KeepARCoverage series takes us to Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, where we meet Sherri Thomas. Sherri - as you'll see in the video - works hard but hasn't been able to afford health insurance. Small business owners like Sherri don't have the luxury of employer-sponsored insurance like the majority of Arkansans. The Private Option allows her to have the flexibility to run her business without worrying about going bankrupt from medical debt or skipping primary care that keeps her healthy and at work.
"I work 50 and 60 hours a week," Sherri says. "I just came off 17 straight days. I work my butt off. I've always had health insurance. I lost it October 1. I looked into some insurance and it was $300 or $400 a month just for basic. And it just had me in a panic. I didn't think I could afford that, but I couldn't afford to be without health insurance."
Sherri found out she qualified for the Private Option, a bipartisan solution passed by more than three quarters of Arkansas lawmakers last legislative session. The Private Option uses federal dollars to buy private health coverage for low-income Arkansans. However, now lawmakers are wavering on their commitment to the program that allows Sherri to afford health coverage and continue to run her business. It is important to keep in place the new, affordable health coverage that's already helping more than 85,000 Arkansans. At AACF, we believe everyone should have access to quality, affordable care.
For Sherri, health coverage provided by the Private Option not only means that her health care needs will be met, but she can concentrate on other things that are really important to her.
"I've been a hair stylist for 25 years," she says. "I have a definite passion for it. [Enrolling in the Private Option] took a big weight off my shoulders and can help me focus on my business."
Lawmakers are faced with one big question: Will they allow Sherri's coverage - and the needed coverage for up to 250,000 other Arkansans - to go away?
We think they should keep Arkansas covered. Don't you? Share this video and tell Arkansas lawmakers to #KeepARCoverage.