An annual report from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families reports that the number of children without health insurance is on the rise in Arkansas.

The number grew nationally for the first time in 10 years. In Arkansas, according to the Finish Line report, the number of uninsured children rose by 3,000 in 2017.

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I incorrectly reported initially that this was the first drop in the number insured in Arkansas in 10 years. The drop in 2017 was the biggest in 10 years,

The Advocates goal is 100 percent coverage of children. To reach that, the group suggests:

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  1. Adopt “continuous eligibility” for ARKids A, as children in the lowest-income families in the state currently can lose their Medicaid coverage if their family’s income fluctuates — something that’s common for families with unstable work hours.

  2. Conduct ARKids First outreach and enrollment targeted to children in immigrant families, as more than 80,000 of our state’s children have at least one parent who is an immigrant.

  3. Eliminate the budget amendment that prohibits state funds from being used on outreach and enrollment in Arkansas Works for adults, as getting more adults covered often results in more children having health insurance.

The legislature has not been friendly to providing more health coverage, or other forms of assistance, to poor people. It costs money. The legislature has placed a higher priority on tax cuts for millionaires and corporate welfare.