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Many Military Families Could Use Additional Support From The Private Option Plan

As state lawmakers debate whether to fund the Arkansas Private Option plan that provides health insurance coverage to thousands of low income residents, I am reminded of how difficult it can be for some servicemen and women to get the care they need. The private option uses federal Medicaid money, under the Affordable Care Act, to purchase private insurance for nearly 250,000 Arkansans who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Those facts are sometimes too technical for many people to understand, but what we do know is about 102,000 residents who didn’t have insurance are now eligible for it, but they could lose this coverage if the plan isn’t fully funded during this year’s fiscal session of the Legislature.

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Now that we are celebrating Black History Month, I thought it would be nice to speak American service member facts into the mix. As an African-American woman, I have to pay tribute to my sisters-in-arms.

Throughout history, Black women overcame discrimination based on race and gender to serve this nation with distinction. In war and peacetime, these courageous women of color defended our country, preserved American values, shattered the military glass ceiling, and overcame barriers for women of all races.

121311-national-black-women-soldiers-militaryI am constantly amazed at how our roles in the United States Armed Forces are sometimes forgotten by the history books. Black women without rank or uniform served as nurses during the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Near the end of World War I, trained black nurses with the American Red Cross were offered Army Nurse Corps assignments. Though they weren’t on the front lines of conflict, these pioneers lived in segregated quarters and cared for German prisoners of war and black soldiers at Camp Grant, Illinois, and Camp Sherman, Ohio.

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Delta Veterans Program

A new ARVets initiative called the Delta Veterans Program seeks to train veterans, connect them to jobs, and create pathways to careers with financial support from the Delta Regional Authority.

In November 2013, the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) announced a grant-funded partnership with ARVets and together the groups outlined ways the Delta Veterans Program (DVP) would aid Arkansas veterans in their quest for additional job and entrepreneurship training, as well as access to various education and employment opportunities.

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