Failure to authorize budget for Medicaid will mean devastating cuts to critical services
The fate of our pre-K program, the foster care system, libraries, and other services hang in the balance based on the decision to fund Arkansas Works (the state's expanded health care coverage program). If lawmakers do not fund Arkansas Works by passing the Medicaid budget during the fiscal session this month, over 250,000 Arkansans will lose their health care coverage. Also, the state will suddenly lose millions of federal dollars that help pay for Medicaid services.
To make up for that gap in funds, Arkansas would be forced to gut some of the most important programs that serve vulnerable kids and families. The depth of those potential cuts to public programs was specified in an alternative budget released by the legislative leadership this week.
Children and families are the biggest losers of all in this doomsday scenario. For example, Developmental Disabilities Services would take a $1.9 million cut. This would be devastating for the 3,000 individuals with disabilities who are already on a waiting list for a program that provides services in their homes instead of in a treatment facility.
Some of the other dangerous cuts include:
Division of Child & Family Services (provides services to abused and neglected children, and children awaiting foster care placement) - cut by $11 million
Division of Youth Services (juvenile justice) - cut by $1.4 million
Arkansas Better Chance (Pre-K) - cut by $5 million
Coordinated School Health (state dollars that support the 27 school based health clinics in the state, which greatly increase children’s access to important health services, such as preventative treatment) - cut by $2 million
Institutions of Higher Education - cut by $5 million
Take action TODAY to stop these devastating cuts! Contact the following legislators - especially if yours is listed below - and urge them to support expanded health coverage in the FY2017 state budget.
You can email using the links below, or call the Senate switchboard at (501) 682-2902. Don't know who your senator is? Use this handy search tool.
Sen. Cecile Bledsoe --- firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Alan Clark --- email@example.com
Sen. Linda Collins-Smith --- firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Scott Flippo --- email@example.com
Sen. Bart Hester --- firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Missy Irvin --- email@example.com
Sen. Blake Johnson --- firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Bryan King --- email@example.com
Sen. Terry Rice --- firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Gary Stubblefield --- email@example.com