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Referendum Challenge to Health Care "Private Option" Underway

Supporters of a referendum overturning health care expansion in Arkansas are moving forward after Attorney General Dustin McDaniel approved the ballot title.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - People on both sides of health care expansion call it the defining issue of a political generation.  Now you have a chance to participate directly.

The private option, or more commonly known as health care expansion, dominated the legislative session that wrapped up in April.

Now, as the state works to implement the law, a group is hoping enough Arkansans dislike it to overturn it.   

The April vote to approve health care expansion through private insurance divided legislators but ultimately became law.

That's why Glenn Gallas has drafted a two-page referendum to undo health care expansion.

"It's Medicaid expansion with another name," Gallas says.

A leader in the Garland County Tea Party, Gallas has to collect just over 46,880 signatures in the next two months to bring it to voters.

"Most the people that are going to vote for this referendum are already educated on the issue, they know what they're going to do, this is the well informed constituency," Gallas says.

Representative John Burris, R-Harrison, led the charge to approve the law that uses federal tax dollars to subsidize private health insurance for uninsured Arkansans

"This is the defining issue of a political generation," Harrison says.  "I think what we'll see is a lot of the harmful effects happening in other states not happening in Arkansas because of the private option and voters will make that connection."

Gallas insists the effort to undo the law isn't a referendum on the legislature itself.

"It's going to define the 2014 elections, whether we like it or not," Gallas says.  "And I believe it will continue to be in the forefront because it's that important, it's that big."

Petition gatherers have until August 15th to collect signatures.  By law, all referendums have to be complete within 90 days of the session ending.
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