Saving Medicaid Expansion: An Arkansas Nonprofit Legal Aid Story

“Over 18,000 lost coverage just due to the work requirements and another 30,000 lost coverage due to administrative red tape. They lost healthcare that is needed to support their ability to be able to work. Health insurance lets you be healthy.”

Feature (Arkansas)

Steve Dubb
Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ)
May 31, 2019

Tags: Work Requirements

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid of Arkansas (LAA) (Jonesboro, AR)


As de Liban observes, the case illustrates the importance of the legal aid system as a whole. Most people, de Liban notes, when they think of social justice lawyers, think of large nonprofits like SPLC or the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “People don’t have a good conception of what social justice lawyers do. You have visions of big cases like Brown v. Board of Education.” These large nonprofits, de Liban adds, “do incredibly important work, but smaller folks have day-to-day legal needs” and that is where groups like his legal aid nonprofit step in.

“For every single legal aid lawyer, there are 18,000 eligible people,” de Liban estimates. NPQ itself has noted the shortage of legal aid often, including articles that featured Hawaii, Massachusetts, Texas, and Kentucky. As NPQ’s Ruth McCambridge noted in the Kentucky article, “Fundraising for some fields of nonprofits is less about writing proposals and more about warding off recurring political attacks at the federal and state levels. And so it is with legal services funding. Every time we turn around, there is another threat.”