One of those Arkansans who has gained coverage is Eleanor Evans. As it happens, Evans knew Tom Cotton when they were both growing up in Dardanelle. Her mother was the pastor at Cotton's church for two years. I spoke with Evans by telephone today. Here is her story.The good news: Eleanor Evans has health insurance now, under Arkansas's private option Medicaid program. And she's thrilled. When asked what she would do if that coverage was to disappear, she's blunt. "I could either go without insurance and keep serving as my mother's caregiver, […] or I could try to find a full-time job that offers insurance as a benefit and risk my mother dying because I'm not here." That would be her mother who was Tom Cotton's pastor.
Evans lives in Rogers and works two part-time jobs, one in social-media marketing and one as a pet-sitter and dog-walker. She spends around 30 hours, sometimes more, taking care of her mother, 66-year-old Kaye Evans, who has diabetes and has been in dialysis treatment since going into kidney failure in 2012.
Evans was laid off from her job as a newspaper reporter in 2009 and was uninsured for four years after that, often struggling to afford her asthma medication. Acting as the sole caregiver for her mother, she was unable to find full-time work. She tried shopping for health insurance but was unable to find an affordable policy because of her own pre-existing conditions.
Cotton apparently doesn't care too much.
Evans said she has tried communicating with Cotton via social media but hasn't heard back. She said she would like to encourage him to "do the Christian thing and support the vast need for health care for those of us who are in that gap.So far, this personal appeal hasn't worked to make Cotton rethink his repeal stance if his vote Thursday is any indication.