The Arkansas legislature took the crazy step of approving the private option version of Medicaid expansion while also preventing government from publicizing its availability (preparatory, Rep. Nate Bell said, to killing Obamacare altogether.)
But this didn’t prevent private groups from attempting to fill part of the void by advertising the availability of coverage and spreading the word by whatever means possible. Disclosure: A private foundation on whose board I sit has contributed money to private groups to do this work.
The advocates of broader health coverage for Arkansans just got a big boost from Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock. His letter:
June 20, 2014
To all the priests and deacons serving in Arkansas:
As you know, the Catholic Church in Arkansas support expanded eligibility for Medicaid provided by law through private insurance for those persons who have an annual income of less than 138% of the federal poverty level. A problem has arisen in Arkansas in that while approving the acceptance of these federal funds, our legislature has prohibited any state agency to use state or federal funds to inform citizens of this expanded coverage. It is estimated that about 100,000 Arkansans are eligible for this expanded Medicaid coverage for which, due to lack of information, they have not yet enrolled. I am sure you know the impact that providing this help will have on low-income persons and families, including many of the working poor.
For this reason, I am asking our parishes to assist in the effort to inform potentially eligible low-income persons how to apply for the Expanded Medicaid Program. Please provide the attached handout to your parishioners, perhaps as a bulletin insert, and ask them to get the word out to people whom they believe may be eligible for this benefit.
Thank you so much for all you do to serve God’s people, with a special concern for the poorest and weakest among us.
Sincerely in Christ,
Anthony B. Taylor
Bishop of Little Rock
They call that — serving the needy — the Lord’s work. (Not some of the backpatting so-called Christians in the Arkansas legislature who regularly attempt to block help for the least among us.)
On the jump, see the fact sheet the bishop distributed to help in the process: