Ohio Representatives Ron Young and Andy Thompson introduced HB91 (The Health Care Freedom Act) earlier this month in an effort to honor the will of Ohio voters, who in 2011 voted overwhelmingly in favor of a Health Care Freedom Amendment to the Ohio Constitution. Imagine their surprise when HB91 was attacked – by a fellow Republican, no less – on the grounds that it…wait for it…violates the Health Care Freedom Amendment of the Ohio Constitution!?!
Of course anyone who is familiar with Ohio’s recently adopted Health Care Freedom Amendment knows that HB91 does no such thing.
Ohio Representative Matt Lynch, who has 30+ years of practicing law under his belt and is one of the 19 cosponsors of HB91, is among those who are familiar with both the Health Care Freedom Amendment and the Health Care Freedom Act. Rep. Lynch recently wrote a letter to Committee Chairman Wachtmann in which he accurately pointed out that HB91 does NOT impose a penalty or fine for the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance nor does it prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance:
It is abundantly clear that HB91 does not impose any type of civil or criminal penalty. It also does not assess and “fine”, “tax” or “fee”. Further there is no “right” to sell insurance in Ohio. On the contrary courts have long recognized that states may regulate the operation of insurance companies. Accordingly no rights are “punished” or “discouraged” under the Bill.
HB91 also does not “prohibit” the sale of insurance. Rather HB91 merely adds a requirement that those selling healthcare insurance in Ohio refrain from accepting any “remuneration, credit or subsidy” as defined in the Bill. Such a requirement is not unlike the many regulations already found in Chapter 39 of the Ohio Revised Code that must be met by an insurance company doing business in Ohio.
Representative Lynch concludes his letter with his professional opinion that “HB91 does not violate the Ohio Constitution by establishing a sanction in the form of a suspension or forfeiture of a license to sell health insurance in Ohio.”
Representative Lynch knows that HB91 is constitutional and likely has the support of most Ohio voters. Representative Barbara Sears probably also knows this, but according to a recent article by Breeanne Howe at FreedomWorks, it sounds like she has nearly a million reasons to oppose the bill as well as any other bill that might impede or stop Obamacare from being implemented in Ohio.
I’m siding with the attorney on this one.
If you think that fidelity to the Ohio Constitution is more important than catering to special interest groups with deep pockets, contact Rep. Barbara Sears at (614) 466-1731 and firstname.lastname@example.org and respectfully demand that she honor her oath of office by supporting HB91.
In addition, contact Health and Aging Committee Chair Representative Lynn Wachtmann at (614) 466-3760 and email@example.com to respectfully demand that this bill make it out of committee so it can be voted on in the House.