Posted by Anna Strong on February 20th 2013
Since it's February - the month of love - we felt it was a good time to (re)proclaim our love for Medicaid. For more than 15 years, we have been sharing how Medicaid and ARKids First have helped Arkansas raise healthier children and families. In the coming weeks, as conversations at the Capitol become more focused around Medicaid, we plan to blog weekly in a "Medicaid Mondays" series on the decisions that our lawmakers are considering.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we know accepting the federal money to extend Medicaid to uninsured adults is a good deal for Arkansas. We think that what's best for kids is for full families to have coverage. We want families to get preventive care, such as asthma medication and blood-pressure checks, rather than wait until problems are serious enough for the Emergency Room. It's a smarter way to use our health care dollars.
Here are a few ways you can learn more about why Arkansas should accept funds to cover more Arkansans.
- Our "Medicaid Works" video shows that extending Medicaid to 250,000 hard-working, uninsured adults benefits our neighbors, our state budget, and our local communities and hospitals.
- You can find information about your hometown in our county-level fact sheets.
- Our Top 10 list gives our favorite reasons for covering parents and families.
- If you like to dig into the details, our brief on strengthening Medicaid tells why covering parents is good for kids.
- A fact sheet from Georgetown University breaks down the 80,000 uninsured low-income parents who could gain coverage by race, income, citizenship, and other qualities.
- Our brand new brief on copays in Medicaid talks about balancing state flexibility with what's good for families and health care providers.
Almost six weeks into the legislative session, discussions about the opportunity to strengthen Medicaid are intensifying. We know that we'll need support from at least 75% of our House and Senate in order to accept the federal funds that have already been allocated to Arkansas to cover uninsured adults. In addition, lawmakers will likely want to set up a framework for how new coverage for adults would look in Arkansas, including benefits, copay structure, or other details. We are digging into these issues and talking with lawmakers to make sure that the new Medicaid coverage is structured to help the hard-working families who can benefit from it. In addition, we are working to make sure that eligibility and enrollment is simple for families across all insurance affordability programs including the new insurance marketplace, also called an exchange.
It's important that we all work together to help cover our neighbors who work hard but don't have access to job-based coverage. We know that when people get preventive care, they are healthier and more productive, helping everyone in our state. We can cover more families and save taxpayer dollars by strengthening our Medicaid coverage starting January 2014.