FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Little Rock – Today, the Republican House Caucus held a press conference at the State Capitol to address the recent passage of the President Obama’s health care bill. Nearly one hundred and fifty people crowded into the Old Supreme Court Room as they listened to Republican State Representatives outline state solutions for stopping the legislation from harming Arkansas families.
“Leaders in Washington and Arkansas have failed to listen to the people of America,” said Republican House leader Bryan King of Green Forest. “This bill is not what the American people need, nor what our constituencies want.”
King said the bill would raise taxes and destroy jobs in our state. “Is this really the time to raise taxes, to create bureaucracies, to burden every job creator in our land, and increase burdens on States like Arkansas,” said King.
Denouncing provisions in the bill which would cut Medicare, King asked the crowd, “Can you tell your senior citizens that these cuts in Medicare will not limit their access to doctors or further weaken the program?”
King also stated that he wants Arkansas to pass their version of a Common Sense Medicaid Reform Bill similar to what has been passed in states like Florida.
King also said he was concerned that Governor Mike Beebe was not being vocal and decisive concerning how the bill will affect our state. “The people of Arkansas and my constituents deserve and expect to know where I stand on such a bill, and they deserve and expect to know where our Governor stands too.”
King concluded, “Today is about restoring the trust of the people!”
“I agree with Governor Beebe. This [bill] is going to add between $100 and $200 million to our state budget annually, said Representative Donna Hutchinson of Bella Vista. “The problem is the federal government can pay with funny money, and they just keep cranking it out and dispersing it.”
Hutchinson cited that the legislation would impose a tax increase on Arkansans. “This is an unfunded mandate,” declared Hutchinson. “I don’t think we can afford the federal government’s charity.”
Representative Dan Greenberg of Little Rock spoke about measures conservative legislators must take on the state level to make sure the people of Arkansas have adequate health care.
“We need more choice, more competition and more accountability, said Greenberg. “One the most important things we can do is create a competitive market for health insurance buyers.”
Greenberg proposed that Arkansas needs a mandate review process. “Because mandates increase the cost of health insurance somewhere between 5% and 20 %, I intend to work for and pass a bill that will overlook every mandate with scrutiny,” said Greenberg.
An additional solution Greenberg announced was his wish to pass state legislation which prohibits the federal government from forcing Arkansans to purchase health insurance. In this legislation, Greenberg said, “you can’t be fined, jailed, or punished if you choose to take provisions for your own health care. The Constitution guarantees our human rights to limited government.”
Concerned about the funding of abortion with taxpayer dollars, Greenberg said, “This is a matter of conscience that we must be bravely concerned about.”
Greenberg concluded with details about lawsuits filed in neighboring states which seek to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation. “These challenges are not frivolous. We all have a right to our own opinion, and our Attorney General’s opinion is that this is a frivolous lawsuit,” said Greenberg. “My opinion is that Dustin McDaniel knows better.”
After the press conference, House legislators welcomed questions from the audience.
Other Arkansas House Legislators in attendance include, Representative Ed Garner, Representative Jane English, Representative Andrea Lea, Representative, Representative Karen Hopper, Representative Beverly Pyle, Representative John Burris, Representative Les Carnine and Representative Debbie Hobbs.