A statement from the Ohio Project board (Healthcare Freedom Amendment) was just released. As a member of this group, I wanted to re-post the statement and add a few editorial comments below. My comments are in RED.
In November 2011 thousands of volunteer petitioners for The Ohio Project’s Healthcare Freedom Amendment initiative joined by 2.2 million Ohio voters enshrined personal freedom from government health care coercion in Ohio’s Constitution. Now, we are disappointed at the Supreme Court’s failure to affirm that our government remains one of limited and defined powers. The Court has now held that the individual health decisions of every American lie within the constitutional grasp of the vast authority asserted in the 2010 federal health care takeover law.
The Ohio Healthcare Freedom amendment (Issue 3) won 66% of the statewide vote and every Ohio County, giving it the largest margin of victory for any citizen’s initiative in Ohio history. Ohio voters have a clear opinion on mandated healthcare – they prefer freedom of choice to government directives and control.
Of special note – Senator Sherrod Brown should be reminded of this everyday through this campaign season – he, just like every Senator, was the deciding vote in taking freedom of choice from every Ohioan, creating a means to tax someone merely because they breathe and waging an unprecedented war on prosperity against all Ohioans by taking taxation to terrible new levels. I hope we all remind him of this on November 6th.
A majority on the Court agreed with the brief of Maurice Thompson, Executive Director of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law and author of the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment, that a mandate that Americans buy private health insurance overreaches Congress’ power under the Constitution’s Commerce or Necessary and Proper Clauses. The Chief Justice, however, joined with four justices who backed the federal government’s claim that this mandate can be justified as a tax under the Constitution. This enables the IRS to punish anyone who chooses to protect their health care in ways not dictated by Congress. Maurice Thompson, said the following today about the Supreme Court’s decision:
While we achieved victory through the front door – our arguments that the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses have limits, Chief Justice Roberts has opened the back door to a taxing power that knows no limit: quite literally, the federal government now claims the power to force you to purchase anything, and pay a tax if you do not. There is broad consensus for the view that the ruling was politically-motivated, since the penalty for not purchasing insurance is clearly not a tax, i.e., ‘a pecuniary burden’ laid upon individuals or property for the purpose of supporting government.
Today’s ruling settles only those legal questions that were before the Court. Other legal issues and challenges have been, and more may be, raised. The crucial practical and political question remains – whether the future course of Americans’ health care is to be determined politically by federal command and control, engraved in the Code of Federal Regulations, administered by agencies and panels, managed by bureaucrats, and enforced by the IRS. Or can citizens act to regain control of their own course so that health care again serves the day-to-day private choices of individual citizens as patients, consumers and family working with doctors, hospitals, researchers and competing insurers?
To this end, we see step one as ensuring that Ohio does not create an Obamacare mandated state-based insurance exchange, as we have written about before. Last Thursday, Lt. Governor Mary Taylor announced that the Kasich administration will not be implementing a state health insurance exchange:
“At this point, the governor and I don’t see how it is in the best interest of Ohioans to have a state-run exchange. Quite frankly, we don’t even see where the additional money would come from in order for us to run that exchange.”
Special thanks to Governor John Kasich and Lt. Governor Mary Taylor for standing strong against the state based exchange through this whole period of time. Now we have the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment as a legal backstop for Ohioans to resist tyranny.
Some have said the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment is meaningless. How uneducated this statement remains. State based healthcare mandates have been prevented for Ohioans, forever. Not even the Supreme Court can change this. This includes implementation of a state based exchange with state funds, and it also provides Ohioans with the legal grounds to continue fighting federal level insanity including the recent ruling from the Supreme Court. Stay tuned for updates. Many things are in the works.
Maurice Thompson also added:
The most important assignment to which Ohioans must now commit themselves is stopping a state-run Obamacare exchange in Ohio. A state-run exchange will provide no independence , will cost taxpayers millions, and will serve Ohioans up to Obamacare on a silver platter. Moreover, it would violate the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment, by using state resources to impose mandates and restrict choice. Instead, Ohio should force the federal government to attempt to run the exchange. The federal exchanges, due to the Obamacare’s haphazard drafting, are much less powerful than state exchanges, and Obamacare will essentially be impossible to enforce through federal exchanges.
We do want you to be aware that there are two bills currently pending in the House and Senate to set up a state-based insurance exchange for Obamacare: SB 277 and HB 412. Both bills are sponsored by all Democrats and have been assigned to their respective committees with no scheduled hearings. Based on statements from the Kasich administration, we do not expect any movement on these bills, but we will be sure to let you know if that changes. In the meantime we are working on a pledge for your representatives seeking election this fall to sign which commits them to opposition to an Obamacare state-based exchange. Getting a signature on this document will be the perfect opportunity for you to sit down one-on-one with your representative, communicate your expectations, and talk to them about the Ohio healthcare freedom amendment. Please watch for further updates regarding this pledge.
The full text of the Obamacare Supreme Court decision is available here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf
The Members of The Ohio Project Board of Directors