Several dozen concerned citizens, activists and leaders of various limited government groups met in person during December to discuss the upcoming Affordable Care Act implementation – also known as Obamacare. Traveling from as far as Boise City to Bartlesville, from Ardmore to Enid, they came in search of answers – and they found them. Much of the Act is scheduled to take effect on January 1st, 2014. The impact of this will be tremendously difficult to bear for many Oklahomans. In addition to the significantly increased premiums and deductibles, a number of people have been moved to part-time in an effort by businesses to shift the cost of insuring their employees. Finally, the legal consequences of the Act pose a threat to individual freedom and liberty should someone choose not to comply.
The first speaker to address the group was former State Representative Charles Key. He detailed the legislative battle and competing bills that resulted in State Question 756. He was in the State House during this time period, and has invaluable insight into the “process” used to craft such things. State Question 756 was passed in 2010, and is also known as the Oklahoma Health Care Freedom Amendment. The State Question passed by a vote of 64.73% to 35.27%, adding Section 37 to Article 2 of the Oklahoma State Constitution. What is not commonly known, by the general public, is this was the weaker of two potential measures against Obamacare. The stronger version was gutted by special interests and legislators allied with their concerns – but not necessarily the voters of Oklahoma.
The second speaker of the day was State Representative Lewis Moore, Chairman of the State’s Rights Committee of the Oklahoma Legislature. He discussed the legislation that was currently in the legislature, as well as measures that will be introduced in the next session. He laid out a strong case for imposing the State of Oklahoma between the citizens and the federal government. His efforts are focused on stopping federal overreach and intrusion in the lives of everyday people. During his discussion, he also pointed to recent efforts in both South Carolina and Georgia as examples of what is being done around the nation, and what is coming in Oklahoma.
Next up after Representative Moore spoke was Bob Donohoo, who is a Vice President of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (locally known as OCPAC). OCPAC has a history of advocating free market legislation and limited government candidates for office. Mr. Donohoo outlined a series of rallies around the state, designed to better educate and inform the public of the pending legislation that would be advocated for this effort. These rallies will be accompanied by numerous efforts to directly contact the citizens and inform them of what is pending, as well as give them such valuable information as the contact information for their State Representative and State Senator. At each rally, a speaker will give an update of the status of any legislation, who is doing a good job of supporting it, and who is opposing it.
The final speaker of the day was Steve Dickson. He is a well-known local activist in the liberty movement with the ability to contact a large network of people. His comments focused on the mechanics of getting each rally well attended. His plan is encompassing of the entire state, with efforts to include people from all 77 counties. Local organizers for each location have already been identified, with the process of finalizing each rally in the works.
At the close of the meeting, all participants were invited to join this single-issue effort. The umbrella organization for this education outreach project will be called STOP – Stop Obamacare Penalties Now. The website for the organization is http://www.stopobamacarepenaltiesnow.com/, and the Facebook page is www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Obamacare-Penalties-Now/539835426094692. Donations to fund print and radio efforts can be made on the website – but not to fund any salaries, since there are no paid staff or consultants associated with the project.
Here is the list of cities where rallies will be occurring. The location and date of each rally will are listed below:
Altus (January 18th), Ardmore (January 25th), Bartlesville (January 11th), Enid (January 11th), Guthrie (January 18th), Hugo (January 25th), McAlester (January 18th), Norman (January 18th), Sapulpa (January 13th), Tahlequah (February 1st), Woodward (January 11th), Yukon (January 18th).
A final rally will be held on February 4th, at the Oklahoma State Capital. Citizens are encouraged to attend as many rallies as possible, educate themselves on the issues, and then contact their State Representative and State Senator with their opinion.