Ohio Health Care Amendment, Issue 3 (2011)
The measure called for exempting residents of Ohio from national health care mandates which would stop any state law from forcing persons, employers or health care providers from participating in a health care system. The measure was sponsored by The Ohio Project. The measure was in response to President Barack Obama's signing of a national health care mandate law in 2010.
- See also: 2011 ballot measure election results
|Ohio Issue 3|
Results via the Ohio Secretary of State with 100% of counties reporting.
Text of measure
The ballot language that voters saw on the ballot read as follows:
The proposed amendment would not:
4. Affect any laws calculated to deter fraud or punish wrongdoing in the health care
The following was the introduction to the official argument for Issue 3: Read the entire text:
Protect your health care freedom, preserve your right to choose your doctor and health insurance, and keep government out of your personal medical decisions.
The following was the introduction to the official argument against Issue 3. Read the entire text:
Voting “NO” means that health care will be more secure because working families won’t be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. Voting “NO” also helps protect Ohioans from the risk of losing their coverage or being forced into bankruptcy when someone gets sick.
2010 initiative effort
Originally the citizen initiated version of the measure was proposed as a 2010 proposal sponsored by the Ohio Liberty Council, and was proposed for the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot. An April 9, 2010 decision by the Ohio Ballot Board to split the proposed health care amendment into two separate amendments, the original measure was considered "dead." The board's decision meant that amendment supporters must re-start the ballot process: re-file summaries and have them re-certified before circulating petitions.
However, on April 29, 2010 the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the amendment could appear as one issue; reversing the Ballot Boards earlier decision. According to the court, the board "abused its discretion and disregarded state law and ordered it to certify the proposed amendment." The court's ruling gave supporters the green light to circulate petitions. On May 3 the Ohio Ballot Board certified the petition language as one amendment, reversing its earlier decision to certify it as two separate ones. 
Then, days prior to the petition drive deadline for 2010 ballot access, supporters announced that they failed to collect sufficient signatures. Instead supporters said at that time that they planned to shift their efforts to the 2011 statewide ballot.
2011 legislative proposal
A legislative version of the measure was introduced as well. However, the measure failed during 2011 state legislative session, as there were not enough votes in the state House to make the ballot.
- Ohio Liberty Council co-founder Chris Littleton argued that the current federal health care reform bill was "making choices in people's personal behavior that is effectively (saying), 'If you breathe, the government can tell you to do x, y or z,' and that's not a good position."
- Ohio Right to Life, a pro-life group in the state, endorsed the measure after a unanimous vote by the board of trustees. The group stated: “By voting yes on Issue 3, Ohioans will preserve their freedom to choose healthcare coverage free of abortion funding and healthcare rationing. When successful, Issue 3 will enact the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment, which provides that in Ohio no law will compel any person, employer or healthcare provider to participate in a healthcare system and that no law should prohibit the purchase or sale of healthcare insurance.”
- State Senator Bob Peterson was in favor of the proposal, stating in an opinion column: "In a country like the United States, that was founded on values and freedom, it seems wrong that the federal government should require and manage individuals health care decisions. The November election will serve as a telltale of the sentiment among Ohioans regarding this vital issue."
- Cleveland Plain Dealer Columnist Kevin O'Brien endorsed Issue 3 in a column, stating: "Even people who normally look askance at state constitutional changes should see the value of this one. Critics say it's largely symbolic. If it is, it's the right kind of symbolism. Vote "yes.""
No donor information was available from Ohio campaign finance reports before or after the election.
- The main campaign against the measure was the coalition Vote No on Issue 3, which was formed in October 2011.
- Dr. Donald Nguyen, medical director and chief of pediatric urology at the Dayton Children’s Medical Center, was one of the five co-chairs of the committee.
- Groups associated with a coalition in opposition of the measure included: Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio, Ohio Council of Churches and We Believe Ohio.
- The League of Women Voters of Ohio were against Issue 3.
- The Ohio Democratic Party stated opposition to the measure.
- Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage argued that the proposed amendment was an attempt to block the federal health care reform bill without offering alternative options. In a statement, according to reports, the organization said,"If people are allowed to buy insurance only when they need it, insurance will get too expensive for everyone."
- Opponents of the measure claimed that the wording of the proposal submitted by supporters was poorly drafted. Opponents said that the broad proposal interfered with other state laws. Among those who claimed this were Jessie Hill and Maxwell Mehlman, Case Western Reserve University law professors. They stated that the language contained the banning of new health care mandates passed after March 2010, which meant that this could have effected further possible changes to workers' compensation, child support orders and a proposal dealing with prescription drug abuse.
- Brian Rothenberg, treasurer of the "No On Issue 3" political action committee stated: "We're trying to explain to folks that the stated purpose will have no net effect, but (Issue 3) will cost heavily in litigation. In the end, we'll have to have a number of court fights to figure out what this means."
No donor information was available from Ohio campaign finance reports before or after the election.
- The Columbus Dispatch stated in an editorial: "...trying to counter the federal law with an ineffective amendment to the Ohio Constitution is a bad idea. This is not where that battle should be fought. Ohioans, including those who agree with The Dispatch that the federal health-care overhaul is deeply flawed, should vote no on State Issue 3."
- The Akron Beacon Journal stated: "The concern, as analysts point out, is what happens to laws that have been passed since then and how Issue 3 would restrict future amendments to existing laws, among them child support enforcement orders, school immunization requirements, health data collection for public health purposes and court-ordered treatment programs. Issue 3 deserves a resounding “no.”"
- The Athens News wrote: "When you go into the voting booth on Nov. 8, be prepared to perform an election "two-fer" — vote a resounding NO for both state Issue 2 (the referendum on S.B. 5) and state Issue 3. Both are blatant examples of ideological over-reaching and in no way promote good government in our state."
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial board argued: "This ill-conceived amendment to Ohio's Constitution won't do what it promises and it might do much harm. Voters need to reject Issue 3."
- The Toledo Blade also endorsed a 'no' vote, writing: "Ohio voters need not, and should not, risk this sort of harm merely to enable Mr. Obama's partisan detractors to score political points. Vote NO on Issue 3."
- See also: List of ballot measure lawsuits in 2011
The group ProgressOhio challenged the petition signatures collected for the measure with the Ohio Supreme Court in hopes of taking the measure off of the ballot. However, on August 12, 2011, the high court ruled that the measure did indeed collect enough valid signatures, and it should stay on the ballot. According to the ruling, ProgressOhio did not provide proof that supporters of the measure failed to collect the required 385,245 signatures needed to make the ballot.
According to Jeff Longstreth, campaign manager for Ohioans for Healthcare Freedom, who backed the measure: "We are very pleased the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the validity of the signatures and will allow voters to have a choice this fall if health care decisions should be made by patients and doctors or politicians in Washington D.C.."
Brian Rothenberg, executive director of ProgressOhio, stated: "Clearly our review was hampered by 40 percent of the counties refusing to respond to a public records request in the allotted time for review."
The ruling stated: "... even if his challenge had substantive validity, Rothenberg's evidence is insufficient to establish that the part-petitions do not have enough signatures."
Path to the ballot
- See also: Ohio signature requirements
A coalition of Tea Party groups and other groups announced on April 22, 2011 that it had collected more than 300,000 signatures towards ballot placement for 2011. Supporters had until July 6, 2011 to collect the 385,245 signatures from registered voters that were required for an initiated constitutional amendment to obtain ballot access. This number represents 10% of the votes cast for governor in the most recent election. In addition, signatures must have been gathered from 44 of Ohio's 88 counties.
Reports confirmed that health care amendment supporters filed approximately 546,000 signatures by the July 6, 2011 petition drive deadline, more than the 385,245 needed to make the ballot. Reports also stated that the secretary of state's office had until July 26, 2011 to verify those signatures.
The measure was certified for the ballot before that deadline that the measure did indeed collect enough signatures for ballot access.
Failed 2010 initiative
Originally the measure was proposed for the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot, however, days prior to the petition drive deadline supporters announced that they failed to collect sufficient signatures for 2010. Instead supporters said they planned to shift their efforts to the 2011 statewide ballot. To qualify the proposed initiative for the November 2010 ballot, supporters were required to collect a minimum of 402,275 valid signatures across at least 44 of 88 counties by June 29.
The 2010 version of the initiative was originally submitted on March 22, 2010 to the attorney general. The filed title read, "To preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their health care and health care coverage." Attorney General Richard Cordray certified the summary of the proposed amendment on April 1, 2010, sending the petition language to the Ohio Ballot Board for final approval. In a released statement, Cordray said, "Without passing upon the advisability of the approval or rejection of the measure to be referred ... I hereby certify that the summary is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed initiated constitutional amendment to Article I of the Ohio Constitution."
|Health care on the ballot in 2011|
Ballot board splits amendment
On April 9, 2010 the Ohio Ballot Board voted 4-0 to split the 2010 proposed health care amendment into two separate amendments: one involving the freedom to choose health care and insurance coverage and another on governance and oversight of health care matters. According to an attorney representing the Ohio Liberty Council, proponents of the measure, a lawsuit regarding the changes may be filed in April to have the issue certified as one proposed amendment. The board's decision means that amendment supporters must re-start the ballot process. They must re-file summaries and have them re-certified before circulating petitions. 
Ohio Supreme Court ruling
Amendment supporters took the case to the Ohio Supreme Court, asking them to extend the deadline to collect signatures and get the ballot language approved. "We feel that Secretary Brunner is playing a delaying action here. We feel that she's trying to run the clock out on us, quite frankly," said The Ohio Liberty Council's Warren Edstrom.
On April 29, 2010 the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the amendment could appear as one issue; reversing the Ballot Boards earlier decision. According to the court, the board "abused its discretion and disregarded state law and ordered it to certify the proposed amendment." The court's ruling gave supporters the green light to circulate 2010 petitions.
On June 17, 2011, the Ohio House of Representatives voted on whether to send the measure to the voters or not, needing 60 votes to do so. The measure came up short, with 59 votes in favor of the measure. The final tally was 59 to 39. The legislative version was not sent to the ballot.
In June of 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the mandate that requires mandatory purchase of health insurance beginning in 2014. Like many states, Ohio will wait until after the results of the Presidential election in November to determine how the state Exchange will be set up.
The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:
|1st initiative effort||March 22, 2010||Supporters initially proposed the measure for the 2010 ballot but failed to collect sufficient signatures|
|Amend. spilt||April 9, 2010||The Ohio Ballot Board voted 4-0 to split the 2010 proposed health care amendment|
|Court ruling||April 29, 2010||The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the amendment could appear as one issue|
|2nd initiative effort||April 22, 2011||Supporters had already collected more than 300,000 signatures|
|Petition drive deadline||July 6, 2011||A minimum of 385,245 petition signatures were required to qualify for the ballot|
|Signatures submitted||July 6, 2011||An estimated 546,000 signatures were submitted by deadline|
|Certified||July 26, 2011||The Secretary of State had until July 26 to certify the submitted signatures. The measure was certified before that time.|
Similar measures in other states
Groups in Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota and New Mexico were 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.
Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray announced in late March 2010 that he would not be joining a national lawsuit challenging the federal government's recently approved health care law. Cordray said he believed the lawsuits were "without merit and would be a waste of taxpayer dollars."
With United States President Barack Obama signing the passed federal health care bill into law, many states began preparing themselves to combat the health care mandates that were on the verge of taking place across the country. Some states had pending initiatives or legislative referrals for the statewide ballots, however, in other states attorney generals were joining in a national lawsuit.
- Federal judge rules health care reform unconstitutional
- Ohio health care amendment supporters shift effort to 2011
- Health care issue being fought by ballot measures
- Associated Press,"Ohio to decide 3 issues after heated fall campaign," September 26, 2011
- Bloomberg,"Ohio Joins States Letting Voters Weigh In on Obama’s Health Law," September 23, 2011
- Associated Press,"Ohio elections chief releases issues' ballot order," July 28, 2011
- The Columbus Dispatch,"Health-care repeal won't be on Ohio ballot, but farm-animal amendment remains on track," June 23, 2010
- Mount Vernon News,"Groups hope to put amendments on November ballot," June 21, 2010
- OneNewsNow.com,"Ohio petition targets individual mandate," June 21, 2010
- The Hill,"Republicans put health reform on ballot in push to turn out conservatives," June 8, 2010
- The Columbus Dispatch,"Ballot issues can influence races," June 1, 2010
- Examiner,"Ohio Attorney General supports Ohio’s opportunity to decide," April 9, 2010
- Falls News Press,"Ohio won't join suit against health care reform, says AG," April 4, 2010
- Legal Newsline,"Cordray OKs ballot measure against health care reform," April 4, 2010
- The News Record,"Ohioans want amendment vote Nov. 2," March 31, 2010
- Republicans back Ohio referendum on Obama health law
- Group to collect signatures, money to push for repeal of health-law requirement
- Medical marijuana: again, a good idea
- Health Care Vote Highlights Obama's Challenge in Ohio
- ↑ Ohio Secretary of State, "Issue 3 Language", Retrieved August 9, 2011
- ↑ HudsonHubTimes,"State ballot board allows petitioners to fight health care," May 5, 2010
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 The Columbus Dispatch,"Health-overhaul foes object to splitting ballot issue," April 10, 2010
- ↑ Associated Press,"Ohio court rules on health care ballot issue," April 29, 2010
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Business Courier,"No health care repeal on Ohio ballot," June 23, 2010
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 The Columbus Dispatch,"Health-care repeal won't be on Ohio ballot, but farm-animal amendment remains on track," June 23, 2010
- ↑ WFMJ,"Opponents of health care law continue petition drive," retrieved June 29, 2010
- ↑ WTOL,"Ohio Tea Party group wants healthcare amendment on Nov. ballot," March 23, 2010
- ↑ Cincinnati.com, "Ohioans could vote on health care law", February 2, 2011
- ↑ Ohio Legislature, "HJR 2", Retrieved March 10, 2011
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 The Columbus Dispatch,"Ohio group seeks vote to block U.S. health-bill requirement," March 23, 2010
- ↑ Examiner,"Ohio Attorney General certifies petition that may shield Ohioans from Obamacare," April 2, 2010
- ↑ LifeNews.com, "Ohio Pro-Life Group Endorses Issue 3 to Oppose Obamacare", September 6, 2011
- ↑ Chillitcothe Gazette, "Ohioans will have chance to determine own health care at ballot box", September 15, 2011
- ↑ Cleveland Plain Dealer, "'Yes' to all three questions on Ohio's statewide ballot: Kevin O'Brien", October 20, 2011
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Dayton Daily News, "Coalition formed to oppose ballot issue on health care", October 18, 2011
- ↑ Associated Press,"Ohio groups fight anti-health-overhaul ballot push," March 31, 2010
- ↑ Athens News, "League of Women Voters of Ohio takes positions on ballot issues", September 21, 2011
- ↑ Cincinnati.com, "Ohio Dems on state issues: No, no and no", October 6, 2011
- ↑ Cleveland.com, "Opponents of Issue 3 say amendment would interfere with many Ohio laws", September 1, 2011
- ↑ The News-Messenger, "Issue 3 would gut key federal health care overhaul provision in Ohio", October 15, 2011
- ↑ The Columbus Dispatch, "State Issue 3", October 14, 2011
- ↑ Akron Beacon Journal, "No on Issue 3", October 16, 2011
- ↑ Athens News, "Issue 3 will disrupt, complicate health care in Ohio", October 26, 2011
- ↑ Cleveland Plain Dealer, "No on Issue 3: editorial", October 22, 2011
- ↑ Toledo Blade, "No on Issue 3", October 16, 2011
- ↑ Reuters.com, "Ohio court says anti-Obamacare amendment can be on November ballot", August 12, 2011
- ↑ Hudson Hub Times, "Supreme Court shoots down attempt to block health care amendment from ballot", August 17, 2011
- ↑ The Daily-Record, "Tea Party collects signatures to repeal federal health care mandates", April 25, 2011
- ↑ Toledo Blade, "Obama health care opponents file petitions in Columbus", July 6, 2011
- ↑ Examiner.com, "Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment signatures delivered to elections chief", July 6, 2011
- ↑ Toledo Blade, "Obama healthcare opponents prepare to file petitions in Columbus", July 6, 2011
- ↑ Whiotv.com, "Ohio Health Care Question Cleared For Fall Ballot", July 26, 2011
- ↑ WYTV,"Tea Party Collecting Ohio Project Signatures," June 18, 2010
- ↑ The News Leader,"Group wants vote on new health care law," April 7, 2010
- ↑ The Columbus Dispatch,"Petition drive will seek to exempt Ohio from health-care reform," April 1, 2010
- ↑ The Daily Record,"Group wants voters to decide Ohio Liberty Council trying to stop federal health care mandates," April 1, 2010
- ↑ Digital Journal,"Ohio AG Cordray receives proposed state constitutional amendment," March 23, 2010
- ↑ WTAM,"Group to challenge rejection of proposed constitutional amendment," April 13, 2010
- ↑ The Columbus Dispatch,"State ballot measure opposed to health-care overhaul can be single issue, court rules," April 30, 2010
- ↑ Gather,"Ohio Court Rules Favorably on Health Care Ballot Issue," May 8, 2010
- ↑ Daily Journal, "Ohio Senate backs resolution to let voters weigh in on requirements in health care overhaul", June 15, 2011
- ↑ Stamford Advocate, "Ohio House opts not to put health overhaul to vote", June 22, 2011
- ↑ Fox News, "State Lawmakers Considering Move to Opt Out of Federal Health Care", June 25, 2009
- ↑ Associated Press,"Ohio AG Won't Sue Over New Federal Health Care Law," March 29, 2010
- ↑ 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