Industries, low-income Arkansas workers to benefit from Medicaid expansion

Industries, low-income Arkansas workers to benefit from Medicaid expansion

More than 150,000 Arkansans work every day, earn less than $32,000 per year, and do not have health insurance. These workers qualify for Medicaid under new federal guidelines set to take effect in January. The last remaining hurdle is approval by the 89th General Assembly.

“The state has an incredible opportunity to provide health care coverage to more than 150,000 working Arkansans,” says Rich Huddleston, executive director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF). “With so few affordable options available to low-income families, the state can ease the burden on families and businesses by allowing these workers to enroll in Medicaid.”

An analysis of the most recent census numbers, conducted by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities for AACF, shows how broadly the problem of uninsured working adults stretches in Arkansas. Restaurant and food service employees top the list of workers without health insurance. Almost 60 percent of those workers go without health insurance.

“People that work hard for a living should not be forced to live without health insurance,” says Brett Kincaid, outreach director for AACF. “Allowing these workers to enroll in Medicaid is the right thing to do. The legislature needs to provide some peace of mind to the more than 150,000 Arkansans that work hard, play by the rules, but view going to the doctor as a luxury in life.”