"Mr. Ross Votes 'No'."

The Republican Party of Arkansas is going after Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Congressman Mike Ross for voting against a July 2009 amendment to an earlier House version of Obamacare.

The amendment, known as the Stearns Amendment, was proposed in the House Energy and Commerce Committee and would have allowed people to keep their current health-care plans no matter what. Ross joined with 31 other Democrats in killing the amendment in committee.

At that time, President Obama was promising Americans that they would be able to keep their current insurance policies under the bill. Fast forward to present day, though, and millions of Americans are learning their existing health insurance policies are being cancelled because they fail to meet the requirements set by the Affordable Care Act.

For the purpose of context, the amendment in question is to H.R. 3200, which is a much earlier version of the House's health care reform bill, H.R. 3962, which Ross voted against. It was the Senate's version that the president eventually signed in to law. H.R. 3200 never even made it out of the House. Nonetheless, it still begs the question of Mr. Ross -- why did he vote against the amendment to begin with?

"The Republican Party of Arkansas is referencing an amendment to a bill that died and never became law," said Ross spokesman, Brad Howard, through an email with KNWA. "So far in this campaign, Ross' opponents have used lies, distortions, dirty tricks and doctored videos to smear Ross' consistent opposition to Obamacare. The truth is Mike Ross allowed Americans' to keep their health insurance by consistently voting against Obamacare and voting to repeal the law multiple times over."

Former congressman and GOP gubernatorial candidate, Asa Hutchinson, believes Ross owes voters a better explanation.

"Congressman Mike Ross was given the choice, on an early form of ObamaCare, to support or oppose an amendment that would have allowed Arkansans the right to keep their current health care coverage," said Hutchinson, Ross' more than likely opponent in the general election. "He chose to vote against that amendment and deny Arkansans that right. In fact, three Democratic members of Ross’ committee supported it, but not Mike Ross. In the end, he did the bidding of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi rather than put measures in place to protect Arkansans. That was wrong and he needs to explain why he voted the way that he did."

For a further explanation of what the Stearns Amendment does, from former Congressman Cliff Stearns himself, click HERE. To see the committee vote in question, click HERE.

More updates coming this afternoon.

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