Almost overlooked in the hubbub over State Issue 2, another state issue on the ballot is an attempt to negate part of the federal health care reform legislation passed by Congress in 2010.
State Issue 3 would amend Article I Section 21 of the Ohio Constitution to provide that:
1) No law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system.
2) No law or rule shall prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance.
3) No law or rule shall impose a penalty or fine for the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance.
The proponents of the amendment say the issue would not affect laws or rules in effect as of March 19, 2010, it would not affect which services a health care provider or hospital is required to perform or supply, it would not affect terms and conditions of government employment, and it would not affect any laws calculated to deter fraud or punish wrongdoing in the health care industry.
In papers filed with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, proponents of Issue 3 say the measure will:
•Protect health care freedom in Ohio’s Bill of Rights.
•Prohibit government from forcing you into government insurance of medical treatment you don’t want.
•Protect jobs in Ohio’s health care industry.
•Keep doctors in Ohio.
•Make it harder for government to force you to support the unhealthy lifestyles and choices of others.
•Reduce government regulations that drive up health care costs.
On the other hand, the argument filed by opponents of Issue 3 states that voting “No” means health care will be more secure because working families won’t be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. Opponents also argue that opposing Issue 3 “helps protect Ohioans from the risk of losing their coverage or being forced into bankruptcy when someone gets sick.”
Issue 3 is attacked as “an attempt by some to take away the ability of Ohio to implement health care reforms. Opposing this measure will continue to allow Ohioans to have greater access to health care, maintain certain preventative care options like cancer screenings and it will preserve Ohioans freedom to choose their doctors.”
Specific arguments made against Issue 3 include:
•It will stop insurance companies from excluding people, including children, with pre-existing medical conditions from getting health insurance.
•Allow working parents to include their children under their employer’s health care plan until age 26.
•Preserve prescription drug coverage and preventive care benefits for seniors, children and parents.
•Stop insurance companies from imposing annual and lifetime caps on health care coverage.
•Protect Ohioans from catastrophic health care expenses that result in bankruptcy.
•Help small businesses provide health insurance for their employees.
•Makes sure everyone takes responsibility to pay their fair share into the health care system for care they use when sick or injured, instead of shifting costs onto people who pay for insurance.
•Allow Ohioans freedom to choose their doctors.