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AAC F A M I L Y  F R I E N D S » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » Building a history of better care

Our state recently gained national attention for the bipartisan crafting of the Arkansas Private Option. Tis series of health-care bills will bring health insurance to 250,000 working Arkansans while reforming our current Medicaid system. While this legislative effort was historic, it was not unprecedented.

In 1997, another bipartisan effort created the ARKids First

program. At the time, almost a quarter of Arkansas children had no form of insured health care. While in the State Senate, I worked with my fellow legislators and Gov. Mike Huckabee to pass ARKids into law. Te program was designed for families with household incomes too high to qualify for existing Medicaid programs, but too low to afford private insurance coverage.

Recently, we learned that Arkansas now ranks fourth nationally

in providing coverage to children. Today, 94 percent of Arkansas children have health insurance.

Insurance coverage makes a huge difference in the health of

a child. When kids get the care they need when they need it, their health is more likely to stabilize and to improve. Children who avoid poor health at a young age stand a better chance of maintaining a lifetime of mental and physical well-being.

ARKids First benefits all Arkansans, even those who aren’t

parents or children who use it. Te program helps slow the growth of health-care costs, costs that all Arkansans pay. When children have no insurance, their parents often cannot afford to take them to the doctor until their health deteriorates. As an illness worsens, care becomes more expensive, and costs spiral higher. Often, those costs are passed along to other Arkansans who do carry insurance when parents are unable to pay for that care out-of-pocket.

Tese are many of the same arguments we have made in recent months for the Arkansas Private Option, and we hope to see similar improvements in health outcomes for working adults.


lowing “Any justice of the peace” and substituted “two (2)” for “three (3).” Tis amendment removed the language of the county where the marriage is solemnized and therefore gave the justice of the peace the same status as any other person listed. (Other than those in (a)(7)) So the correct answer under current law would be yes they can and after serving two terms not three as previously needed for a former justice after Amendment 55. I might note the only person subject to (within the county) would be those appointed by the quorum court under A.C.A.9-11-213 (a)(7) A.C.A. § 9-11-213 (2012) 9-11-213. Persons who may solemnize marriages. (a) For the purpose of being registered and perpetuating the evidence

thereof, marriage shall be solemnized only by the following persons: (1) Te Governor;

(2) Any former justice of the Supreme Court; (3) Any judges of the courts of record within this state, includ-

ing any former judge of a court of record who served at least four (4) years or more;

(4) Any justice of the peace, including any former justice of the COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2013 or denomination;

(6) Te mayor of any city or town; (7) Any official appointed for that purpose by the quorum court

of the county where the marriage is to be solemnized; or (8) Any elected district court judge and any former municipal or

district court judge who served at least four (4) years. (b) (1) Marriages solemnized through the traditional rite of the Reli-

gious Society of Friends, more commonly known as Quakers, are recog- nized as valid to all intents and purposes the same as marriages otherwise contracted and solemnized in accordance with law. (2) Te functions, duties, and liabilities of a party solemnizing

marriage, as set forth in the marriage laws of this state, in the case of mar- riages solemnized through the traditional marriage rite of the Religious Society of Friends shall be incumbent upon the clerk of the congregation or, in his or her absence, his or her duly designated alternate.


It will allow individuals to obtain preventive care and early treatment instead of waiting until they are desperately sick and receive expensive emergency-room care that others eventually pay for. And like ARKids First, it will give families the peace of mind that comes from knowing that health care will be affordable when it is needed and that a serious illness won’t go untreated or create a family financial crisis.

From The Governor

Nearly 93 percent of children eligible for ARKids are now enrolled, but there are still 46,000 kids in our state who are uninsured. Estimates show that another 10,000 can be newly covered through the private option. We have the chance to continue the amazing progress we have achieved in the past 15 years in caring for our children.

Hon. Mike Beebe Governor of Arkansas

ARKids First is an example of successfully reaching out to those who are uninsured through no fault of their own. Trough that program, our state became a leader in expanding coverage to children. We are leading again with the private option. Someday, we hope to look back at the accomplishments of this initiative and see, like we have with the success of ARKids First, that our work has been well worth it.

Mike Beebe

Te Honorable Mike Beebe Governor of Arkansas

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peace who served at least two (2) terms since the passage of Arkansas Con- stitution, Amendment 55; (5) Any regularly ordained minister or priest of any religious sect

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