Three States To Vote on Individual Mandate in Health Care Reform Law
On Tuesday, residents of three states -- Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma -- will vote on midterm election ballot measures that would seek to block the federal health reform law's individual mandate, Kaiser Health News/Miami Herald reports.
Under the individual mandate, most U.S. residents must purchase health insurance by 2014, or they face a financial penalty.
The ballot measures in the three states are similar to a state amendment that more than 70% of Missouri voters approved in August.
Debate Over Ballot Items
According to KHN/Herald, the ballot measures have ignited a "fierce debate" among policy analysts, critics and supporters of the amendments over their purpose.
Opponents say the initiatives are designed to make a statement against the reform law and to mislead voters that the state amendments, if approved, would allow them to opt out from the law's provision. Others note that they could help boost prospects for the ongoing lawsuits that question the law's constitutionality.
Meanwhile, proponents note that they could bolster the efforts of some lawmakers to repeal or defund the law. However, policy experts say that the U.S. Supreme Court will likely have the final say on the constitutionality of the mandate before it takes effect in 2014. As such, the outcomes of the ballot measuresÂ are not likely to affect the law.
However, some observers note that the amendments could prevent states from implementing other programs that expand insurance coverage (Miles, Kaiser Health News/Miami Herald, 10/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.