Wednesday, October 24, 2012

COP 24/7 Rising and Reaching

HHS continues to support state efforts to build Affordable Insurance Exchanges

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in September awarded a new round of Affordable Insurance Exchange Establishment Grants to Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia. These awards will give states the flexibility and resources needed to create new health insurance marketplaces, known as Exchanges, for their residents.
“States continue to make progress toward building Exchanges that work best for their residents,” Secretary Sebelius said. “The resources announced today will ensure states have the assistance they need to continue moving forward.”
Because of the Affordable Care Act, consumers and small businesses will have access to Exchanges starting in 2014. The Exchanges are one-stop marketplaces that will provide access to quality, affordable private health insurance choices similar to those offered to members of Congress. Consumers in every state will be able to buy insurance from qualified health plans directly through these marketplaces and may be eligible for tax credits to help pay for their health insurance. These competitive marketplaces promote competition in the insurance marketplace and provide consumers with more insurance choices.
Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Minnesota received awards for Level One Exchange Establishment Grants, one-year grants awarded to states to build Exchanges. The District of Columbia received a Level Two Exchange Establishment Grant today, a multi-year grant awarded to states further along in building their Exchanges.

A total of 49 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories have received grants to begin planning their Exchanges, and 34 states and the District of Columbia have received grants to begin building their Exchanges. To ensure states have the support and time they need to build an Exchange, states may apply for grants through the end of 2014 and may use funds through the initial start-up year.

For a detailed breakdown of Exchange grant awards made to states, including summaries of how states plan on using the awards now announced, visit:
For more information on Exchanges, visit: Even though Arkansas is forging it way into this matter, COP 24/7 has been informed that the process is being  motivated by a fraction of those directly affected and especially those who are "uninsured." Although this forum is not fully in the loop on what outreach was put in place, what we do know is that there have been meeting announcements and repeated circulation of updates in the mainstream media. So what's up with those "uninsured" individuals not coming to the table to be apart of a process that could determined how they access or navigate the system once enacted. Is this more "apathy" or more citizen abdication of their responsibility to craft what the exchanges should look like as well as how they operate. Therefore, if there's something that's left off the table or discarded in the process, it would seem that no one should be calling foul or unhappy with the outcomes. With this in mind this forum will offer updates, meeting times and any pertinent information that would allow all who wish to participate to be able to do so. Don't forget that if you don't have your say, then you've got nothing to say when others have spoken for you!

October is Advocacy & Organizing

GCIP-GulfMidsouth-Cover-Medium-BorderGovernor Mike Beebe declared October as Advocacy and Organizing month in Arkansas to raise awareness about the impact that advocacy and organizing have on promoting change in our state. According to a recent study, every $1 invested in advocacy and organizing garners $114 for communities. Wow, did the good Governor really say that? If I recall in his first ever town hall meeting with the LGBTQ community (6/2011), he wasn't so enthusiastic about our organizing and all but "patted those in attendance on the head and told them to just keep quiet and move along." Anyone remember that patronizing event in which the states CEO didn't seem to be unaware that Arkansas did not have a law prohibiting employers from firing individuals on the basis of sex or gender identity and initially claimed that it was illegal for a business to fire an employee because she or he is gay. He was corrected by the crowd and sounded embarrassed by the snafu. Also included in this back and forth was the issue of the individual whom wanted to have his life partners obituary run in a local paper which Bebee basically said it was up to the entity to make that decision. Plus Bebee went on to wax on that he had evolved in his thoughts about gay adoptive parents despite his previous vote to ban such a practice. In looking back to that exercise, exactly what outcomes benefited the LGBTQ community in 2012?  Well, I guess its all about who you ask or what study you decide to give credence. Speaking of studies...yes there's more. Enter, "Strengthening Democracy, Increasing Opportunities: Impacts of Advocacy, Organizing and Civic Engagement in the Gulf/Midsouth Region" which looks at how 20 nonprofits in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi and their allies helped improved their communities and amplified the voices of under served residents in the democratic process through policy engagement. These nonprofits leveraged foundation grants that generated a $114 return for every dollar spent. The Arkansas candidates were:

Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families (Little Rock)
Arkansas for Public Policy Panel (Little Rock)
Center for Artistic Revolution (Little Rock)
Northwest Arkansas Workers' Justice Center (Springdale)
Rural Community Alliance (Fox)
There's no way that this forum can give you all the details of this report except to say that its some interesting reading and again, depending on how you spin it, as to what all this data really means to the average joe or jane. Check it out at and don't hesitate to share your thoughts with us or with the organizations named.

Local CBO's Seeks ApplicantsApplications for part-time positions will be taken by appointment only, at The Living Affected Corporation offices, 401 North Maple Street, Suite A, North Little Rock. The organization is seeking candidates for consideration for positions in projects and organizational programming for 2012 and 2013. Pre-testing and training will be provided for selected prospects. Candidates must be at least 18 years old, have flexible schedules, reliable transportation and high school or GED graduate. Resumes can be forwarded to info@lacorponline or FAXED to 855.792.5483 To make appointments call 379.8203.

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