***************************FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE********************************
Glenn Gallas, Chairman of Arkansans Against Big Government, (501) 545-1933
In response to the largest expansion of government in Arkansas history via the Health Care Independence Act of 2013, passed by the Arkansas 89th General Assembly, also known as the “private option,” a grassroots effort was launched by a group, calling itself “Arkansans Against Big Government”. Arkansans Against Big Government is headed by Hot Springs activist and political commentator Glenn Gallas.
Gallas explains that Arkansas, like other states, had the opportunity to refuse to implement “Obamacare” mandates such as Medicaid expansion and health care exchanges. Instead, the Republican-controlled legislature passed Medicaid expansion and legislation to enable Obamacare health care exchanges hastily at the end of the session, in spite of widespread opposition from voters and grassroots groups around the state. “The reality is that disguising Medicaid expansion by calling it “private option” does not change the fact that it is still federally funded and still allows hundreds of thousands of people to become dependent on a system that is already broke,” Gallas said. “The people of Arkansas clearly did not vote for this, and they must have the opportunity to be heard on the issue.”
According to the Arkansas Constitution Amendment 7 regarding initiative and referendum the citizen must be filed 90 days after the final adjournment of the legislative session. However, in this case the signature gathering process was reduced to only 52 days because of changes made to the rules regarding the referendum process and the failure of the States Attorney General’s office to approve the Popular Name and Ballot Title. This reduction of time needed to collect the required signatures severely hampered and limited the citizens of Arkansas right to petition their government, thus opening the door for a legal challenge by the group.
The group was able to collect signatures from 73 of 75 separate counties in Arkansas and was overwhelmingly supported by the people encountered throughout the signature gathering process. According to Glenn Gallas, all options are on the table as to how to move forward in the effort to stop Obamacare in Arkansas. Options include a legal challenge to the current law, preparing an initiative campaign and applying pressure on current legislators to defund the private option during the upcoming fiscal session.
“We know now, more than ever that the majority of Arkansans do not want the federal government making our health care choices for us,” Gallas said. “The costs for this expansion will fall back on Arkansas taxpayers after 3 years, and Arkansas taxpayers simply cannot afford it.”