Citizens of Ohio voted Tuesday with a 65 percent majority to pass Proposition 3 [text, PDF], an amendment to the Ohio Constitution [PDF] which mandates that no rule or law can compel people, employers or health care providers in their state to "participate in a health care system." It also holds that "purchase or sale of health care or health insurance" cannot be prohibited and outlaws imposition of penalties or fines for buying or selling health care or insurance. The amendment will take effect in 30 days. Proponents of the proposal claim it will bar government from controlling their health care options, help protect the health care industry from government regulations [SOS materials, PDF] that hurt its effectiveness and save jobs in the health care. Opponents claim that it will prevent the government from imposing regulations that could lower health care costs [SOS materials, PDF] and ensure that low-income citizens and citizens with preexisting conditions are not excluded from obtaining health insurance.
The proposition was a response to the 2009 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [HR 3590 text; JURIST backgrounder], which requires all Americans buy some form of health care coverage. The health care law's constitutionality has been challenged in multiple lawsuits. Last month, the American Center for Legal Justice (ACLJ) [advocacy website] and 105 members of Congress filed an amicus brief [JURIST report] with the US Supreme Court [official website], urging the court to take up a Florida case challenging the law. In September, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] and a group of 26 states filed petitions with the Supreme Court [JURIST report] seeking a ruling on the constitutionality of PPACA. The petitions for certiorari filed by the DOJ and states [cert. petitions, PDF] seek review of a decision handed down by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] in August. The Eleventh Circuit found the PPACA individual health care mandate unconstitutional [JURIST report] but upheld the remainder of the law without the mandate. The Supreme Court is likely to rule on the issue next summer.