Healthcare measure clears Oklahoma House, penciled into November ballot
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma: Oklahoma residents have a November appointment to decide on a health care ballot question, as the Oklahoma House approved the measure, without debate, with a vote of 88-9. House Republicans voted 61-0 in favor, and House Democrats voted 27-9. The measure will now be placed on the November 2, 2010 general election ballot. The Oklahoma State Senate had previously approved the bill, with a vote of 30-13 on May 5, 2010. The measure will allow state voters to decide whether or not to opt out of federal health care mandates. As a result, the proposal, if enacted, would categorize a law that would require residents, employers or health care providers to participate in any health care system unconstitutional.
With United States President Barack Obama signing a newly passed federal health care bill into law on March 23, 2010, many states prepared themselves to combat the health care mandates that are on the verge of taking place across the country.
Oklahoma is just one of many states that was considering measures such as this. According to Randy Brogdon, when commenting on the federal health care bill, "I believe it is unconstitutional for the government to mandate when and where citizens purchase health insurance."
On the other side of the argument, according to University of Oklahoma constitutional law professor Joseph Thai, "Unless the federal legislation specifically allows states to go their own way, Oklahoma can no more 'opt out' of a federal health care mandate than it can opt out of federal civil rights laws."
The measure joins nine other state questions slated for the general election, leaving Oklahoma registered voters a full plate of issues to decide on.
- The Oklahoman, "Oklahoma voters to decide whether to approve ban on federal health care mandate," May 26, 2010
- Business Week, "Deadline for Oklahoma budget deal fast approaching," May 10, 2010
- Tulsa World, "Oklahoma Senate approves 'opt-out' health-care option, can't override gun-bill veto," May 5, 2010 (dead link)
- Fox News, "Obama to Sign Landmark Health Reform Bill," March 23, 2010
- CNN, "Obama signs health care reform bill, aims to promote it on the road," March 23, 2010
- The Alva Review-Courier, "Health care opt out approved by Senate," March 23, 2010