Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ohio House Democrats Prohibit Ohioans from Deciding the Fate of Job-Killing Health Care Mandates

COLUMBUS—State Representatives Ron Maag (R-Lebanon) and Barbara Sears (R-Monclova) today announced that despite unanimous support from the House Republican Caucus, the Ohio House failed to pass Senate Joint Resolution 1, which would propose an amendment to the Ohio Constitution to preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their health care and health care coverage. In order for this resolution to successfully pass from the House, only one additional vote from the minority caucus was necessary; however, partisan motives obstructed this common-sense initiative.

Commonly known as the Ohio Health Care Freedom Act, S.J.R. 1—and its House companion bill, House Joint Resolution 2—would allow the citizens of Ohio to vote on whether to prohibit any law or rule from forcing any person, employer or health care provider to participate in a health care system.

“The federal health care law that passed in 2010 is a job killer that will have a devastating impact on Ohio’s families, small businesses and economy,” Maag said. “Our state is already in financial trouble, and adding an unaffordable, substandard mandate on families is simply poor public policy. I believe that families have the right to decide whether or not they want to adopt these new costs and mandates from Washington. I’m disappointed that the House Democrats do not join us in the belief that the people of Ohio deserve a voice on this issue.”
Had S.J.R. 1 received just a single Democrat vote, the issue of whether Ohioans should be forced by the federal government to purchase health insurance would have appeared on the November ballot. However, despite the duty of a state representative to reflect those back home, the House Democrats chose instead to act as a barrier between the federal government and the people.

“We were elected as representatives of our constituents, and I believe that giving the voters and the taxpayers the ability to decide the fate of the federal health care mandates is not just important—it’s a responsibility,” said Sears. “When taxes and spending are fully phased in, the cost of these mandates could reach nearly $2 trillion over the next decade. We don’t want Washington imposing these health care mandates against the will of Ohio’s citizens because of the enormous costs that will be forced onto our families and businesses.”
As a caucus, the House Republicans believe that all Ohioans should have a choice of whether or not they should be forced into government-run health care or if they should have the freedom to choose their own health care in the marketplace.

A Quinnipiac Poll following the passage of the health care overhaul in 2010 found that Ohioans opposed these federal mandates 56 to 33 percent. The passage of S.J.R. 1 would have respected the vast majority of Ohioans by permitting the option of including a constitutional amendment on the November 8, 2011 ballot.
According to this constitutional amendment, no law or rule may force any person, employer or health care provider to participate in a health care system, prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance, or impose a penalty or fine for the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance. It also stated that these provisions are to preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their own health care and health care coverage, based on the best interests and unique situations of their own families.