Think Ohio is exempt from “Obamacare”?
Posted by Scott Landreth
So are Ohioans protected from Obamacare, or do we need to do more? In order to answer this question, we need to understand what has transpired up to this point.
- Ohioans overwhelmingly passed the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment (Issue 3) on November 8, 2011. This enshrined the freedom of Ohioans to choose their healthcare and health care coverage into Ohio’s Bill of Rights under Article 1, Section 21.
- Just over 1 year later on November 16, 2012 Governor John Kasich sent a letter to CMS Director Gary Cohen in which he informed the director that Ohio would NOT establish a state-run healthcare exchange, “but instead will exercise its right under the law to leave that to the federal government”.
- Later that same day Rob Nichols, a spokesperson for Governor Kasich, reportedly sent the following e-mail to some members of Ohio’s business community: This morning, Gov. Kasich informed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that Ohio will not run an Obamacare health insurance exchange but will leave that to the federal government. Also, he informed HHS that Ohio will retain regulatory control over health insurance plans offered through a federally-operated exchangeas well as retain the authority to determine who is eligible for Medicaid benefits. The Administration will submit additional details to the federal government prior to HHS’s February 14 deadline. This February deadline (it’s actually the 15th) refers to the date HHS has given states to provide a blueprint for a hybrid state-federal exchange partnership. States opting for a purely federally-run exchange don’t have to submit a blueprint. Ohio is going in on Obamacare implementation in partnership with the federal government, despite the impression they are trying to give.
- The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) can only infect the nation and the American people if states are willing either to set up state-based ObamaCare exchanges, or “partner” with the federal government, thereby allowing an exchange to be installed and operated by the Department of Health and Human Services. The PPACA clearly states that the federal government—that is the HHS—has total control over all healthcare issues in any state in which an exchange is located, federally-operated or otherwise.
- On December 6, 2012 the Republican-dominated Ohio House passed HB 613, representing yet another step by the Kasich Administration to implement Obamacare in Ohio. Why do this if Obamacare is not coming to Ohio?!?
I think the answer to our initial question is clear – Ohioans are NOT protected from Obamacare despite (a) our State Constitution’s Healthcare Freedom Amendment and (b) Governor Kasich’s refusal to create a state-run Obamacare exchange. Obamacare IS coming to Ohio unless the 130th Ohio General Assembly passes legislation to NULLIFY OBAMACARE in Ohio.
Scott Landreth is the Ohio Chapter Coordinator for the Tenth Amendment Center, a national think tank that serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power as required by the Constitution. Send him e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.