By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
In the event of passing health care reform that will place oppressive mandates on the citizenry, a growing number of states are moving to protect individuals’ freedom of choice when it comes to purchasing – or not purchasing – health insurance.
According to a report by CNSNews.com, 11 states have already filed legislation which will prevent the federal government from forcing their citizens to buy health insurance – Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, New Mexico, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Arizona’s bill, which passed the legislature in June, will be put before voters on the 2010 ballot.
Seven other states have announced their intention to file similar legislation – Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, New Hampshire and Utah.
The most recent legislation was introduced in Kansas and would amend the state constitution to protect the rights of Kansans to make their own health care choices. The proposed amendment protects an individual’s right to pay directly for medical care – something that is now allowed in single-payer systems – and also prohibits a person from being penalized for not purchasing government-defined insurance. Under the amendment, any state attempt to require an individual to purchase health insurance, or forbid them to purchase insurance outside the government-established system, would be rendered unconstitutional.
The legislation is modeled after a bill written by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a membership association of state lawmakers.
“Federal health care reform efforts may include a requirement that individuals purchase health insurance, and a so-called ‘public option’ which will result in less choices for consumers and new government mandates,” said Iowa State Rep. Linda Upmeyer, who chairs ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force.
“Americans don’t need more government mandates, we need real consumer choice. ALEC’s Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act is designed to protect individual rights and our freedom to purchase health insurance of our choice, or not,” she added.
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