Photography: Cori B. Sammons
On March 23, 2018, Arkansas Community Institute(ACI) and Arkansas Community Organizations(ACO) gathered on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol alongside community members and advocates of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to celebrate the laws eighth year anniversary. The crowd chanted and told stories of the many people the ACA bill has helped and how it has affected their own lives since being signed into law. After the rally, supporters delivered a hand-made, signed birthday card with the words “Happy Birthday ACA!” to Governor Asa Hutchison’s office. The card was given to the governors secretary by the grandson of an ACO/ACI member.
President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on March 23, 2010 and since then it has provided millions of Americans with access to affordable health care. Since the law was enacted, Congress voted 70 times to repeal the ACA. In 2017, ACO along with other organizations successfully stopped the repeal legislation. However, there is legislation that seeks to weaken and destroy the law in order to recover the massive tax cuts given to the wealthiest 1% under Trump Administration. The repeal and replace strategies enacted by right wing legislation would cut millions of people off Medicaid and Medicare and would continue to cut off millions more from affordable health care.
The Trump Administration recently approved work requirements for people who receive health coverage from Arkansas Works and requires them to report work hours through email. It is estimated that thousands of Arkansas will lose their coverage due to disabilities, an inability to work the required amount of 80 hours a month, a lack of resources such as the internet. ACO/ACI and supporting organizations of the ACA bill have fought endlessly and will continue to fight until everyone in America has access to affordable care.