Medicaid Saves Lives (MSL) is an alliance of recipients, caregivers, advocates, providers, legislators, and concerned citizens to educate about and advocate for all areas of Medicaid. We see proof every day that Medicaid truly does save lives, and so one of our biggest messages is that we’re thankful.
Our group advocates for the people on many statewide issues, which currently include AR Works, the DDS Waiver, and any state Medicaid funding cuts. MSL is also very involved in Medicaid at the federal level, especially in communicating with those legislators.
This group began on Facebook with one concerned parent, when Medicaid funding was threatened by Senate vote in the spring of 2016. That parent created the group “Save Arkansas Medicaid,” and in a matter of hours, other concerned parents and citizens had joined the group seeking answers and help with what to do. The group name later changed to “Medicaid Saves Lives.”
The group serves today as a place where people can get answers – answers to the truth of the issues at hand and answers as to how the average citizen can respond. We have expanded to Twitter, and our newest service is a weekly newsletter.
We are accepted on multiple boards, workgroups, and agencies now. Many providers around the state are part of our group. We hope to continue expanding around the state to strengthen the voice of Medicaid recipients. We often represent people statewide in agency or legislative meetings, which is why the 2017 goal for MSL is to travel more and meet people face to face.
If we are to be effective, this has to be done together as one big team. We teach recipients and caregivers how to advocate for themselves, how to effectively communicate with legislators and state agencies, and pass along any information that we find might be helpful to them. We try to educate on procedures, laws, and policies, not only to avoid loss of coverage, but also to help the money to be spent in the most efficient way possible (since we are seeing more need but less funding). We want to continually equip the recipients and people in the next generation to advocate, and in order to do so, we produce shareable materials.
None of this can be done with just one person. We’ve been working on a network around the state to make this group effective everywhere – not just in Little Rock. We need you.