Suddenly, even with the November mid-term election in the rear-view mirror, there are more questions about Gov. Asa Hutchinson's Arkansas Works health insurance program.
It seems there are between 10,000 and 12,000 Arkansans about to be tossed off the active rolls from having medical insurance coverage originally offered to them by the state.
And no one knows exactly why these folks are not re-enrolling?
What the state, the Governor and all who are calculating these numbers do know is that folks who once signed up -- are no longer re-signing to be on the rolls.
But why? Why? You ask?
The reasons are many.
• Does the person who once qualified for this low-cost, federally funded insurance not have access to a computer to re-enroll (as required for continuous) coverage?
• Has this person simply moved from the state of Arkansas?
• Has this person gotten a job and is now getting health insurance from his or her employer?
• Is this person currently ill and unable to register as required by the program?
• Has this person died?
• Has this person been in jail or sentenced to a prison term in the state?
• Did this person, formerly enrolled, just flat-out decide he or she didn't need insurance because they did not get sick?
• Has there been a divorce?
• Did the person not sign up and has entered into that "other" economy -- the one where one works for cash only with no benefits, deductions and paper trail as an income?
Or perhaps the No. 1 reason, and one that most in the legislature and the state government generally dislike saying:
• The enrollee just didn't want to make the effort to be re-enrolled in the state program.
Even the Scriptures tell us we will always have the poor among us. Now that does not mean that the state and we, as individuals, should not recognize that fact and to our best ability, do something about poverty and the poor among us.
But what a challenge, helping the poor and providing health care for them in today's economy, can that be.
Just ask any Legislator, especially those in office for the past two or three terms under Gov. Hutchinson have no more answers about this conundrum than those newbie State Legislators-elect, about to take the official oath for the first time in January.
Anyone -- even the Governor who has all the answers -- well is not being truthful.
Signing up people for the federally funded health insurance was in itself a Herculean task, but some nearly 300,000 Arkansans, who all qualified under the federal guidelines, did so.
Now there are about, according to the state's best guess several thousand who are simply not complying with laws for Arkansas Works program.
And looming in the not too distant future will be a Washington, D.C., area federal judge's ruling to see if the state can really require the 80 hours of educational training or volunteerism from those of standard employable ages to gain access to a government health insurance benefit.
Governor Hutchinson says his staff has called many Arkansas area hospitals to see if there has been a "spike" in un-compensated care, i.e. in other words, citizens appearing in the Emergency Room for treatment with no health insurance?
The answer: No more than usual, experts told the Governor.
If Arkansas Works is a success why, oh why, others decry, can we not get all the people who need health care coverage on the sign-up rolls and keep them there?
That is a really good question.
Perhaps we should be asking ourselves this question as we look around our communities.
Who do we see that needs this health care coverage?
And why can't we get these people signed up?
Especially at this time of the holiday season, yes, perhaps, we can be our brother's keeper.
-- Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at email@example.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.Editorial on 11/28/2018
Print Headline: Questions abound on many tossed off Arkansas Work