The virus has caused the deaths of almost 6,000 people in Arkansas. Almost 36,000 have contracted the virus and more than 16,000 have been hospitalized. More than 1,600 have had to be on a ventilator.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed an executive order Tuesday setting up a committee to manage over $1.5 billion in federal funds coming to Arkansas.
“This is an important executive, legislative effort to manage appropriately the $1.9 trillion that the administration and congress has approved for the American Rescue Plan.”
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) is sending unprecedented funds to Arkansas.
State government will get $1.57 billion. The 75 counties in Arkansas will get $586 million. Arkansas cities will get about $425 million. Each city's allocation will depend on its population. Arkansas schools are set to receive $1.25 billion. Universities and colleges will receive $363 million.
Government entities can use ARP funds to recover from the loss of revenue caused by the pandemic. Their budgets were strained by increased demand for social services. Also, ARP funds can be spent to improve health in communities that suffered the brunt of the pandemic's impact.
The funds can be spent to prepare for possible future pandemics, such as purchasing medical supplies and equipment, or training more people in health professions.
The funds can be spent on necessary improvements to water, sewer and broadband infrastructure. The federal money cannot be used to pay for tax cuts, and cannot be deposited in public pension systems.
The American Rescue Plan makes health insurance more affordable for over 300,000 Arkansas citizens and millions of Americans.
A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis estimates that 92% of people who buy their own health insurance will qualify for a subsidy. Its findings also indicate that 1.4 million uninsured people are now newly eligible for the subsidized marketplace coverage.
Kaiser pegs the average savings as ranging from $33 a month for those with incomes under 150% of the poverty level to $213 a month for those with incomes between 400% and 600% of the federal poverty level.
Estimates by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) say premiums after the new savings will decrease, on average, by $50 per person per month, or $85 per policy per month. Four out of five enrollees should be able find a plan for $10 or less a month after premium tax credits, CMS says, and more than 50% will be able to find a “Silver” (or mid-level) plan for $10 or less.
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