Like many of you, I spent some quality time with my mom this past weekend for Mother’s Day. And just like many of you, she and I are concerned about affordable healthcare.
My mom recently moved into an apartment with skilled nursing care. But before that, she was in a local nursing and rehab facility. These are not the kinds of decisions you make lightly. When my father was on his deathbed, he told us, “don’t put your mom in a nursing home”. I still get choked up thinking about it. The number one fear of families who put a loved one into a facility is running out of money, and not knowing what to do about it.
We are so thankful that my mom is able to get the care she needs, but I know that too many people in our state aren’t getting what they need. The bottom line is affordability and ensuring that our loved ones are properly cared for. We MUST guarantee that there is funding for healthcare for our seniors and that the law does not protect profit over quality care.
Here in Arkansas, UAMS operates an Institute on Aging in Little Rock and nine regional Centers on Aging throughout the state including one here in Northwest Arkansas. But Republicans in our state government have cut millions of dollars from UAMS in recent years. This year, UAMS had to lay off hundreds of employees and leave hundreds of positions unfilled to erase a $72 million dollar deficit.
A lot of people in our state rely on regional and rural health clinics for their well being. Before I was on Fayetteville City Council, I was a senior executive for GlaxoSmithKline, and I visited all 75 counties in Arkansas as part of an initiative to get vaccines to every child in the state. My work on this program even got recognized by former Governor Mike Huckabee, proving that despite vast political differences, there will be ways to work across the aisle for the common good.
ALL Arkansans deserve quality affordable healthcare, regardless of income. But too often, it’s under attack in our state legislature. Let's not continue to jeopardize basic healthcare for tens of thousands of vulnerable Arkansans. Right now, Arkansas ranks 46th in the nation when it comes to healthcare. Our people deserve better. Our state deserves better.
I’ve got a lot more to say about healthcare. If you’d like to read about my other positions on funding for medical research, job training for healthcare professionals, removing the Medicaid Expansion’s Work Requirement, protecting the rights of medical marijuana patients, expanding bilingual healthcare and more, check out my website at www.votemarkkinion.com