Wyoming Health Freedom Act (2010)

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The Wyoming Healthcare Freedom Act did not appear on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot in Wyoming as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The proposed measure was defeated in the Wyoming State Senate with a vote of 18 to 12, 2 votes shy of the required two-thirds majority.[1] The measure was sponsored by President of the Wyoming Senate, Senator John Hines, Senator Jim Anderson, Senator Eli Bebout, Senator Cale Case, Representative Tom Lubnau, and Representative Timothy Hallinan.[2]

The proposed initiative is similar to the Arizona Health Insurance Reform Amendment (2010).[3]

Ballot summary

Wyoming Healthcare Freedom Act[2] reads:

The federal government shall not interfere with an individual's fundamental right to make decisions about that individual's health care. No law shall impose a penalty, fine or tax of any type on a person or entity for choosing to obtain, decline, participate in or not participate in any health care insurance, system or plan, or for paying directly or receiving direct payment for health care services. This section preserves existing health care agreements and contracts, upholds health care providers’ liberty to perform the health care services they select as recognized by state law, and does not affect the terms of health care services offered through state workers’ compensation laws or the provision of state hospitals. Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed as requiring the state or any subdivision thereof to provide or pay for any health care, except for prisoners and others in the custody of the state, or a subdivision, to the standard deemed appropriate by and enacted into law by the legislature.

Legislative history

In 2009, Senator Hines with Rep. Timothy Hallinan sponsored legislation similar to Arizona Medical Freedom to Choose, Proposition 101 (2008). The proposed amendment was heard, and subsequently held back by the Senate Committee on Labor, Health and Social Services[4]. At the time, the committee believed the original language[5] was deemed to broad and as such could have had unintended consequences adverse to health care in the state.

The 2010 Health Freedom Act[2] revamps the original language to address the concerns of the Senate Labor, Health and Social Services committee.

Wyoming requires that any amendment obtain two-thirds of each house to be placed on the ballot for the general election. As 2010 is a budget year, Wyoming Health Freedom Act faced a tough challenge as any non-budget issue requires a vote to consider the amendment by two-thirds of either house of the legislature.

(See Amending the Wyoming Constitution).

Wyoming's Future

The Wyoming Health Freedom Act is advocated by Wyoming's Future[6]. According to Wyoming Future, the goal is to ensure that indivudal liberty is the foremost concern when reforming health care, saying "It is of paramount importance that personal liberty be respected in health reform. No matter how necessary some may deem it; it never, ever, makes sense to take rights away from one citizen to confer the guise of safety to another."

Similar measures in other states

Groups in Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota and New Mexico are considering a similar proposal. Two of these states (North Dakota and Wyoming) allow ballot initiatives; in the other three states, the state legislature would have to vote it onto the ballot using their state's procedure for constitutional amendments.[3]

Approveda Missouri Healthcare Freedom, Proposition C (2010)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Indiana Healthcare Freedom Act
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Minnesota Healthcare Freedom Act (2010)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot New Mexico Healthcare Freedom Act (2010)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot North Dakota Healthcare Freedom Act (2010)

See also

External links