We may all get to vote on health care reform this fall, if a Tea Party-related group has its way.
The Cincinnati Tea Party reports that the groups are holding a press conference at 2:30 p.m. today in the Ohio Statehouse on the proposed amendment.
Here's the release from the Cincinnati 9/12 project. (The group would have to file 402,275 valid signatures by June 30 to get the issue on the ballot, the Dispatch reports).
Columbus, OH, March 22, 2010. The Ohio Liberty Council, a statewide coalition of 25 grassroots groups, including the Cincinnati Tea Party, today announced a proposed state constitutional amendment that will "preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their healthcare and healthcare coverage."
The amendment, drafted by the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, seeks to protect Ohioans from the financial burdens and individual mandates contained in the new federal healthcare law. The group filed constitutional amendment summary language and more than 3000 signatures from registered voters in 42 counties with the Ohio Secretary of State and Attorney General.
The amendment language is available at http://www.ohiolibertycouncil.org/
Twenty-six state legislatures have proposed constitutional amendments to block the individual mandates contained in the new federal law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Today's filing by the Ohio Liberty Council is the nation's first citizen-initiated action.
"The Ohio Liberty Council seeks to preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their healthcare and healthcare coverage," said Ohio Liberty Council President Chris Littleton. "With the passage of untenable national mandates on health insurance, the federal government is trampling on the direct constitutional authority and responsibility of state legislatures. This constitutional amendment will do what our leaders in the Statehouse have failed to do -- protect Ohioans from federal mandates on personal behavior."
"Obamacare significantly erodes individual liberties because of its severe penalties for non-compliance," said 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson. "The federal government -- through the IRS --now has the power to levy tens of thousands of dollars in fines on individuals who do not purchase health insurance from government-sanctioned private providers. The Ohio Liberty Council's constitutional amendment will protect Ohioans from this draconian overreach."
The amendment provides that:
· In Ohio, no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system;
· In Ohio, no law or rule shall prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance; and
· In Ohio, no law or rule shall impose a penalty or fine for the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance.
The amendment does not:
· Affect laws or rules in effect as of March 19, 2010;
· Affect which services a health care provider or hospital is required to perform or provide;
· Affect terms and conditions of government employment; and
· Affect any laws calculated to deter fraud or punish wrongdoing in the health care industry.