Arkansas Lawmakers Rightly Rejected Wasteful Obamacare Ad Dollars
Fox News reported yesterday on the story surrounding Obamacare advertising dollars being rejected by Arkansas Lawmakers-
When the Arkansas Legislative Council reviewed the contract in June, they voted against releasing the second round of cash. Without it, the department was unable to renew their contract with Mangan-Holcomb Partners, the PR firm running the various promotional efforts related to the Arkansas Health Connector.
The backstory – On September 30th, just a day before the roll out of Obamacare, if you can classify that as a roll out, Arkansas Legislators rightly rejected federal dollars that were to be spent promoting Obamacare in The Natural State. After already having spent $4.3 million in advertising on things like bus wraps and Facebook ads, the Arkansas Insurance Department came before the Legislative Council and asked for another $4.5 million.
With bi-partisan opposition to renewal, the advertising grant was voted down with 15 voting to approve and 26 voting to reject. Lawmakers saw what this was – a waste of good taxpayer money with little to no results. At the time the grant was rejected, the $4.3 million had simply been spent to ‘raise awareness’ with no actionable results to report. How is the ‘awareness’ working out? According to Congressman Womack, as of October 23rd a mere 18 people have signed up through the federal exchange in Arkansas.
The legislative review saying no to this blatant waste of taxpayer dollars was fueled by grassroots pressure from the Arkansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity. A hashtag heavy social media campaign, #StopTheAds, was waged to engage activists and citizens and encourage legislators to cut the waste. An online video was created chronicling the existing waste and encouraging legislators to say no to the new round of ad dollars.
The best part of all of this? Taxpayers aren’t footing the bill for ads sending people to a website that doesn’t even work! Back in April, AFP Arkansas argued against the expansion of Medicaid and against the creation of a state based exchange because we saw the writing on the walls – Obamacare is coming apart (or a train wreck is how some describe it).