By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Voters in the states of Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma will be able to voice their discontent with the President’s health care reform law on November 2 with ballot initiatives that will approve proposed constitutional amendments allowing them to opt-out of key provisions of the plan.
The Washington Times is reporting that the three initiatives are designed to prohibit the government from forcing individuals to buy health care insurance, a mandate critics say violates the U.S. Constitution. The idea is to protect state residents from “the ongoing takeover of health care by the government,” say backers of the Colorado campaign.
Even though opponents of the ballot initiatives say the idea is an “exercise in futility” because Federal automatically trumps state law, proponents point to the 10th Amendment which reserves to the states all powers not delegated to the Federal Government by the Constitution.
“There have been numerous examples to suggest that there are times when state law supplants federal law,” said Mr. Caldara, president of the free-market Independence Institute in Golden, Colorado, who is spearheading the ballot drive. “If federal law always supplanted state law, then we wouldn’t have 20 state attorneys general suing to overturn the federal law.”
Besides, he told the Times, if opponents truly thought the states and the voters were powerless, then “they wouldn’t have spent so much trying to keep us off the ballot.”
Colorado’s “Amendment 63” qualified for the ballot through the signature-gathering process. Oklahoma’s “Question 756” and Arizona’s “Proposition 106” were referred to the ballot by votes of the state legislatures.
A fourth proposal in Florida was also approved for the ballot by the state Legislature, but the state Supreme Court removed it in August after ruling that the wording was inappropriate.
All three initiatives have a good chance of passing due to the high level of anxiety Americans have about the long-term cost of the health care overhaul and government intrusion into their lives.
“The economy is a general theme running through ballot measures this year,” Jennie Bowser, an elections analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, told the Times. “I really hesitate to predict outcomes, but Arizona leans conservative with all the controversy and media coverage, I just think it’s likely to pass this fall. Amendment 63 in Colorado is a little harder to predict because Colorado’s purple.”
Seen as an anti-Obama vote, the initiatives are likely to inspire more voters than usual to turn out for a mid-term election, which could open the door to another way of repealing the unpopular law – electing a new Congress that shares the public’s point-of-view.
In the meantime, conservative lawmakers have already introduced several bills aimed at repealing ObamaCare.
For instance, Sen. Jim DeMint (R.-S.C.) and 15 colleagues have introduced one-sentence bills to repeal ObamaCare. Joining DeMint in supporting S.3152 are Republican Senators Vitter (La.), Graham (S.C.), Bennett (Utah), Bond (Mo.), Chambliss (Ga.), Crapo (Idaho), Ensign (Nev.), Hutchinson (Tex.), Inhofe (Okla.), LeMieux (Fla.), Risch (Idaho), Roberts (Kan.), Cornyn (Tex.), Coburn (R-Okla.) and Kyl (R-Ariz.).
In the House there are at least four bills pending that aim at repealing ObamaCare. Republican Representatives Jerry Moran (Kan.), Connie Mack (Fla.), Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and Steve King (Iowa) have introduced bills with a combined 40 cosponsors.
Numerous amendments have also been introduced by Republicans to repeal certain portions of the bill, but all of them failed to pass in a Democratic-controlled Congress.
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