Health Care Freedom Makes a Big Impact in 2012
As the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments this week challenging the federal health law, the states are continuing to promote ALEC’s Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act as a way to fight back against an unprecedented (and likely unconstitutional) individual mandate.
This ALEC model protects the rights of patients to pay directly for medical services, and it prohibits penalties levied on patients for failing to purchase health insurance—otherwise known as the individual mandate. This month’s Kaiser Tracking Poll showed that the mandate was one of the most unpopular components of the federal health law. Two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the mandate, and 51 percent say the Supreme Court should rule it unconstitutional.
Missouri—a state that has already passed the model via statute—is considering a bill that would put a health care freedom constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot. Kansas considered a constitutional amendment earlier this year, but the 26-14 vote in the Senate was one vote shy of the two-thirds majority needed for a constitutional change. Voters in Wyoming, Florida, Alabama, and Montana will consider health care freedom measures in November.
In all, 44 states have introduced ALEC’s Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act. Twelve states—Virginia, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, North Dakota, Kansas, Indiana, and New Hampshire—have enacted the model via statute.
And, in many of these states, opposing the individual mandate has been met with bipartisan support. Virginia became the first state to pass the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act with a Democratic-controlled Senate. Louisiana became the first state with an entirely Democratic-controlled legislature to pass the model. And in 2010, Missouri’s Proposition C was approved by more than 71% of primary election voters.
Likewise, in most of the states where the model has appeared on the ballot as a constitutional amendment, voters have overwhelmingly approved the idea.
In 2010, Arizona voters approved Proposition 106 by a 55%-45% margin, and Oklahoma voters approved State Question 756 by a 65%-35% margin. In November, Issue 3—a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment—won the approval of 65% of Ohio voters. Colorado’s Amendment 63—put on the ballot by citizens there in 2010—was the only health freedom measure to lose at the ballot box, as a slim 53% of voters disapproved of the measure.
ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force will continue to help state legislators push back against the harmful effects of the federal health law, as well as develop solutions that bring about true security, affordability, and accessibility within health care. For more information, visit our State Legislators Guide to Repealing Obamacare online.