Issue Advocacy

Medicaid Expansion: Arkansas Hospital Association

When the Affordable Care Act was passed it gave states the option to expand Medicaid for low-income residents under the provisions of the ACA.

Arkansas Capitol Building

Campaign

To get the Arkansas General Assembly to pass HB 1219, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) appropriation bill, including funding for Medicaid expansion under the ACA, better known as the Private Option, and to pass implementing legislation (HB 1143 and SB 1020). Services we provided during the campaign include the following:

Message Creation

Overall message frame and talking points formed from statewide polling and research to identify which messages fit positively with our target audiences.

Brand Development

Campaign logo and branding were designed in-house and combined with messaging to effectively represent the issue to target audiences.

Grassroots Advocacy

Our team formed a coalition with local churches, chambers of commerce, faith leaders and Arkansas Hospital Association affiliated organizations and encouraged them to reach out to their legislators. We garnered positive education and awareness of the issue through letters to the editor, media interviews, tele-townhalls and earned media events. We targeted legislators through direct mail, phone calls and letters from constituents, faith leaders and local chambers of commerce.

Creative

Campaign collateral was created in-house to leverage coalition and grassroots support and to educate constituents and lawmakers on the positives to expanding Medicaid. Each piece was executed effectively not only so target audiences could easily identify our message and campaign, but also to put pressure on legislators to pass legislation that their constituents favored.

Digital Strategy

Social Media platforms were used to direct grassroots support and legislators to our content. The website was used as a platform to share and generate new about the campaign through news articles and press releases.

Results

In April 2013, HB 1219, the Arkansas DHS appropriation bill, including funding for the Private Option passed both the Arkansas House (77-23) and Arkansas Senate (28-7). In addition, implementing legislation (HB 1143 and SB 1020) was passed and sent to the Governor to sign into law. As of 2015, more than 223,000 Arkansans have access to affordable health care, most for the first time in their lives.