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Arkansas Referendum on the Healthcare Independence Act of 2013 (2014)

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The Arkansas Referendum on the Health Care Independence Act of 2013 did not make the 2014 election ballot as a veto referendum in the state of Arkansas. The measure, which was sponsored by the group Arkansans Against Big Government, would have repealed the health care act, also known as the "private option," which was signed into law last April and uses federal money to fund health care for low-income residents. Gov. Mike Beebe (D) signed the private option into law as an alternative to expanding Medicaid.[1][2] The referendum can be read here.

Background

In Arkansas, the "private option" was approved by legislators, both democrats and republicans, as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Arkansas will receive money from the federal government that is meant to be put towards the expansion; instead, the funds will be used to purchase private insurance for approximately 250,000 low-income Arkansans.[2]

Support

The measure was sponsored by the group Arkansans Against Big Government, which is led by former congressional candidate Glenn Gallas.[1] Regarding the private option, Gallas said, "It's going to affect every citizen in every walk of life and I believe the people should have their voice in whether they want it or they don't want it." He believes that voters will reject the private option.[2]

Path to the ballot

See also: Initiative process in Arkansas

On April 11, 2013, the House passed HB 1143 with a vote of 62-37.[3]

Arkansas Private Option Health Care Bill, HB 1143
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 62 62%
No3737%

On April 16, 2013, the Senate passed the bill 26-9.[3]

Arkansas Private Option Health Care Bill, HB 1143
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 26 74%
No926%

The full text of HB 1143 can be found here.

Supporters of the measure had to collect 46,880 valid signatures in order to send the measure to the November 2014 ballot.

On Tuesday, June 11, 2013, the Attorney General Dustin McDaniel approved the language of the measure, giving supporters the green light to begin gathering the required signatures.[2]

On August 14, 2013, the head of Arkansas Against Big Government announced that the group did not have enough signatures to qualify the measure for the 2014 ballot, as they collected only 26,000 of the 46,880 required signatures.[4]

See also

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