Free idea for the Health Reform Task Force: testimony from folks covered by the private option | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Free idea for the Health Reform Task Force: testimony from folks covered by the private option

Posted By on Sun, May 10, 2015 at 10:54 AM

WILL THE LEGISLATURE TAKE HER COVERAGE AWAY? Ellen Louise Fant of Alexander shows off her insurance card, eligible via the private option. - PHIL GALEWITZ/KAISER HEALTH NEWS
  • PHIL GALEWITZ/KAISER HEALTH NEWS
  • WILL THE LEGISLATURE TAKE HER COVERAGE AWAY? Ellen Louise Fant of Alexander shows off her insurance card, eligible via the private option.
There are lots of little questions for the Health Reform Legislative Task Force, and one big one: will Arkansas continue to offer coverage for more than 230,000 Arkansans? 

The task force will be checking out power-point presentations from its million-dollar consultant and I'm sure there will be lots of testimony from various powerful players. I hope there's also testimony from some of those 230,000 Arkansans. I hope that if the legislature even considers ending their health insurance, it talks to them first.

Perhaps in addition to the experts, it would be worth hearing about the experiences of people across the state like Melissa Farrell and Charles Lott and Claudia Reynolds-LeBlanc and Rick Wells and Wendy Phillips and Jennifer Trader and Sherri Thomas and Hope Smith and Ellen Louise Fant and Anita Geiger and Amber Chote. That's what's at stake here: their lives. 

If the chair of the task force is going to imply that uninsured poor people would be fine getting care without coverage, perhaps he could hear some of their stories about the nightmares of trying to navigate the health care system without insurance. Some of their stories about the hurdles in accessing care, about mounting bills and financial disaster, about impossible choices between medicine they need and basic necessities for their families. 

The task force should hear these stories directly from the constituents who would be devastated if the legislature chooses to send out cancellation letters in the fall of 2016. 

They might learn something. 

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