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Farm Bill Provision Will Disrupt Arkansas Medicaid Program
Date:2/29/2008

Over 40 million Needy Children and Adults to be Affected Nationwide, Study

Expects

WASHINGTON, Feb. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A survey released today by Spectrum Science Communications states that a little known anti-privatization measure in the current farm bill would critically harm Arkansas' ability to effectively administer its Medicaid program. The measure, offered as an amendment to the House-passed Farm Bill by Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA), would restrict all states from using non-profits and other private organizations in the administration of public assistance programs.

Over 40 million needy children and adults would be affected by the disruptions in service that would occur if the federal government takes away states' ability to partner with private firms and non-profit groups. Among those who would be affected are over 14 million enrollees in the Medicaid and The State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), 26 million food stamp recipients, and 1.9 million participants in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

"This provision will severely hamper the administration of hundreds of social services programs in the U.S., affecting 700,000 recipients of Medicaid services in Arkansas," said Audrey Spolarich of Spectrum Science Communications.

The Spectrum study found that states such as Arkansas rely on non- government organizations to assist in the administration of many means-tested social service programs, such as the Food Stamp program. The East Arkansas Family Health Center, a non-profit organization, helps identify and enroll citizens for the state's Food Stamp program, which helps nearly 385,000 low- income Arkansans purchase food.

"As someone who has had to administer these programs to recipients, I can tell you first-hand how adversely impacted state governments will be if this provision passes," said former South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges. "In South C
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SOURCE Spectrum Science Communications
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