Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says advocates of a Health Care Freedom Amendment have met the requirements to put the proposed state constitutional amendment on the November 2011 ballot.
The amendment would not really repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), but it does state that no federal, state or local law or rule could require an individual to own or an employer to provide health coverage in Ohio.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, a federal judge in Pensacola, Fla., has argued in a ruling declaring PPACA unconstitutional that the law is constructed in such a way that striking down the provisions requiring many employers to provide and many individuals to own coverage invalidates the entire act.
State constitutional amendment supporters in Ohio have gathered 426,998 valid petition signatures and need just 385,245 signatures, or 10% of the total vote cast for governor in 2010, to get the amendment on the fall ballot according to officials in Husted’s office.
“Petitioners had to collect signatures from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and, within each of those counties, to collect enough signatures to equal 5% of the total vote cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election,” officials say. “Petitioners met this requirement in 82 counties.”
The next step in the process is for the Ohio Ballot Board to convene to approve the language that will appear on the ballot, officials say.
The board is set to meet Aug. 3.
Jeff Longstreth, one of the leaders in the amendment campaign effort, says volunteers gathered
signatures with a validity rate of about 80%.
“It’s clear Ohioans want the freedom to choose the health care options that are best for them and their families,” Longstreth says in a statement. Ohioans want patients and doctors to make healthcare decisions, not government regulators.”
Brian Rothenberg, executive director of ProgressOhio, Columbus, Ohio, a group that opposes the measure, says volunteers who oppose the measure are continuing to look for invalid signatures on the petition forms.
“We have until Aug. 5 to file challenges, and we expect to have quite a few,” Rothenberg says.