Our View: Yes, times are hard, but at least fill out the paperwork

It is certainly disappointing to learn that more than 100,000 children in Arkansas are at risk of losing their ARKids First health coverage all because it is believed the majority of them have parents who have absolutely no God-given sense of responsibility. Heck, even when government hands out millions upon millions of our tax dollars for such free subsidies there is a serious problem of getting those individuals who can qualify to simply sign up. Let’s make this particular situation very clear and say that this is all being attributed to the failure on the part of these parents or guardians to take the time to simply fill out the necessary information in the applications to determine the children’s eligibility. While this is just another formality under Obamacare is clearly no different than the thousands of adults who are either too ignorant or lazy to follow the rules and regulations for obtaining free or subsidized adult health care. As expected, the liberal bureaucrats within the state’s Department of Human Services are scrambling around trying to figure out a way to address the problem and have apparently come up with what they call a new eligibility determination and enrollment system. We’re told this new system has already sent notices to an estimated 212,000 families with children who were enrolled in ARKids before the new rules went into effect. Sadly, only 170,000 of those families have responded and now, we’re told, they are resending notices to the remaining 42,000 giving them 30 more days past the deadline to sign their children up for this free service. As if this wasn’t enough begging, the DHS bunch are also sending fliers about the renewals to school nurses, libraries and other organizations across the state. In addition to all of this, DHS cronies are spending our tax dollars advertising the renewals on the radio as well as using Facebook in about 60 counties. For all those who may not know what the ARKids program is all about, it uses Medicaid money to pay for free health care to children from families with incomes of up to 216 percent of the federal poverty level, or who simply can’t afford to raise them properly. About 390,000 children in Arkansas were covered by the program as of March 31. To highlight just how enormous the poverty rate is in Arkansas these 390,000 children are among about 600,000 Medicaid recipients who we are told are eligibly under Obamacare programs. Those recipients include about 250,000 low-income adults who became eligible for free coverage under the expansion of the program which is commonly referred to as Arkansas’ Private Option that was approved by our generous elected legislators in 2013. One DHS employee is even suggesting that if all these efforts of begging these people to sign up for free health care for their children fails then it is time to simply start calling them direct. Even with the hundreds of DHS employees it would require hiring more people to set up a focused call center, a cost that is said would be prohibitive. But, we’re told, DHS has gone ahead and hired extra workers to process renewals even though there is an issue with people responding. All this goes to illustrate that Arkansas has a growing problem with the number of individuals dependent upon government subsidies, an issue that is certainly a major hindrance to economic growth and prosperity.


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