When Ohio Representatives Ron Young and Andy Thompson introduced HB91, the Health Care Freedom Act, back in March of 2013, they were confident that their bill would make its way to the house floor for a vote in relative short order. After all Republicans, who are supposedly opposed to Obamacare, have a veto-proof majority in both the Ohio House (60 of 99 seats) and Senate (23 of 33 seats).
In addition, Ohioans voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Health Care Freedom Amendment in November of 2011. Article 1, Section 21 of the Ohio Constitution now reads:
“No federal, state, or local law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system.”
Perhaps best of all, HB91 was heading to the Health and Aging Committee where Chairman Lynn Wachtmann and Vice Chair Anne Gonzales were 2 of the bill’s 18 cosponsors. 3 other members of the committee – Ron Hood, Matt Lynch and Ron Maag – also cosponsored HB91.
Slam dunk, right?!
The Health Care Freedom Act is STILL collecting dust in the Health and Aging Committee more than 10 months later. Sponsor testimony was given on March 20, 2013 and the committee heard some proponent testimony shortly thereafter, but since that time…crickets.
ABOUT THE HEALTH CARE FREEDOM ACT:
According to the PPACA, employers and individuals must purchase health insurance or they will be subject to tax penalties. However, the price for the insurance companies accepting the federal subsidies is the tax penalty for citizens who don’t purchase insurance. As long as the insurance companies do not accept federal subsidies, consumers will not be subject to penalty taxes. That is where Ohio’s Health Care Freedom Act (HB91) has potentially located a weakness.
Once passed, HB91 prohibits health insurance companies operating in Ohio from accepting any funding from the federal government that would result in potential penalties for employers or individuals. If a company chooses to receive federal subsidies, their license would be suspended in the state. While they would still be able to conduct business previously secured, the company would be barred from writing any new business until the funding is returned to the federal government. Further, due to the rules set up within PPACA, the subsidized insurance company would be prohibited from participating in any exchange nationwide. As explained by Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute:
“… since they would no longer be licensed and in good standing with the state, they would no longer qualify under the PPACA as an issuer of “qualified health plans.” The PPACA itself would therefore preclude them from writing new business or receiving subsidies through any Exchanges for as long as the suspension remained in place. Without the (illegal) subsidies, consumers and carriers would have no reason to participate in a federal Exchange.”
Ohio State Representatives Ron Young and Andy Thompson talked to physicians on Friday, May 17, 2013 about their “Obamacare Kill Bill”, which will stop ObamaCare from harming Ohio patients and businesses:
In Ohio: Take steps to support HB91 HERE
Other States: Contact your state legislators today – urge them to introduce similar legislation. Model bills and contact info HERE.