State senatorial candidate Jason Rapert and state representative candidates David Meeks, Stephen Meeks and Jimmy Bryant announced their pledges today to prevent health care legislation from harming Arkansans.

"We are disheartened by what occurred with the federal government on Sunday.  We wish our U.S. representatives would listen to the people rather than accept a partisan government takeover of health care that a majority of Arkansans did not want.  Our plan is to work vigorously with fiscally responsible state legislators from across Arkansas to propose legislation to keep this bill from harming our great state."

The legislation will be modeled after the Idaho Health Care Freedom Act.  A key provision will be to allow every person in Arkansas to choose or not to choose health care services and insurance without penalty. The bill that passed the U.S. House on Sunday imposes penalties on individuals who fail to purchase from approved insurance options and taxes so called "Cadillac" health insurance plans that offer benefits that exceed government guidelines.  The Idaho bill was signed into law on March 17 and was the first legislation of this kind to be adopted.  Three states that border Arkansas — Tennessee, Missouri and Oklahoma — have already passed health care freedom acts in one legislative chamber.  Action is also pending in almost two dozen additional states.

"Bottom line is that this $2.5 trillion government-run health care bill increases taxes, raises premiums, slashes Medicare and does nothing to control the cost of health care," said Rapert.