BULLHEAD CITY — Members of the Colorado River Tea Party Patriots are circulating petitions to get the state’s Medicaid expansion issue placed on the ballot. The expansion, spearheaded by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, passed the state House and Senate last month. Brewer signed the measure into law.
As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Arizona will receive $1.6 billion in federal funding to provide health care for an additional 300,000 low-income residents.
An organization called the United Republican Alliance of Principled Conservatives is sponsoring the petition drive for a November 2014 voter initiative. The group, which includes former state senator Ron Gould of Lake Havasu City, has until Sept. 11 to collect 86,405 valid signatures in the hopes to repeal what the organization calls “OBrewercare.”
Michelle Arnett, District 2 director and second vice chairman of the Mohave County Republican Party, spoke before 30 people attending the Saturday afternoon Tea Party meeting. Arnett spoke of common ground with political adversaries.
“The Democrat next door is not your enemy — they’re in the same boat.” The enemy, as the Tea Party sees it, is an over-reaching government, both on the state and federal level.
The purpose of putting the Medicaid expansion issue on the ballot is so the people can decide, win or lose, Arnett said. She played a video of a recent rally in Phoenix in which Gould said a Medicaid initiative on the November 2014 ballot would be “the first nationwide referendum against Obamacare.” Voters in Missouri and Ohio have approved ballot measures to block federal plans to levy fines on people who don’t have health insurance, a key feature of Obamacare.
Arnett spoke of supporting Republicans who stood against the governor and voted against Medicaid expansion.
“If they have our backs, we certainly have their backs,” she said.
Colorado River Tea Party Patriots meets at 1 p.m. the first and third Saturday of the month at the First Baptist Church, 1700 Palma Road, Bullhead City. Anyone interested in signing the petition can do so during at the meetings. The group is on Facebook and its website is coloradoriverteapartypatriots.com.