Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
released another video today, which tells the story of a diabetic health care worker and cancer survivor in Searcy named Wendy Phillips
. Phillips, a mother of three, gained health coverage through the private option. The legislature is considering pulling the plug on the policy during the fiscal session, which would end coverage for Phillips and around one hundred thousand other Arkansans this summer, just six months after the private option began.
The video is the latest in a series from Arkansas Advocates describing the stories of folks who have benefited from the private option (here's their first one, on Jennifer Trader in Springdale
I've seen some conservatives on social media say that somehow Arkansas Advocates is being "misleading" because some of the people in these videos have families — and parents with dependent children make up a minority of the eligible population in Arkansas. But that minority of eligible parents still amounts to...somewhere in the neighborhood of 60,000-80,000 Arkansans! People like Wendy Phillips. People like Jennifer Trader. These are the real stakes for real people. There's nothing misleading about it. If the private option is defunded, tens of thousands of folks will lose health coverage. Those folks have stories. If private-option opponents want to dismiss them as people who don't deserve help, well, that's fine. But with the legislature set to meet to decide the fate of the private option — their stories will be heard.
Then there are another 150,000 or so Arkansans eligible for the private option who don't have dependent children. People like Sherri Thomas
, a Walnut Ridge hairstylist, featured in the Arkansas Advocates video below. Maybe you simply don't care about health coverage for poor people without children, or older poor people whose children are grown. But again, with their coverage on the chopping block at the Capitol, their stories will be heard.