Obamacare has awakened Ohioans to the possibilities of nullification as nothing before has. The Ohio Project, a coalition of liberty-minded organizations, began circulating a petition to amend the Ohio Constitution. The amendment states that no federal, state, or local law or rule shall:

  • Compel any person, employer, or provider to participate in any health care system
  • Prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance
  • Impose a penalty or fine for the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance.

The Ohio Project has collected 287,000 signatures to date, with less than 100,000 additional signatures needed to appear on the November 2011 ballot.

With the election of the most liberty-friendly Ohio legislature in many years, three bills have been introduced to protect Ohioans from mandatory government health care:

  • HB 11 prohibits Ohio departments from enforcing the federal health care act unless the department charged with enforcing a provision of that law submits a detailed impact statement to the General Assembly and implementation or enforcement of that provision is required by the Ohio Revised Code or authorized by the General Assembly.
  • HB 85 amends the Ohio Revised Code to protect individuals from being required to purchase health care coverage, except as part of a court settlement, participation in Medicaid, or a student required by their college to have coverage. A federal violation of HB 85 requires the Ohio Attorney General to press for a court injunction or other relief.
  • SJR 1 slightly modifies the Ohio Project’s petition. It was drafted by the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, an advocacy organization defending the Constitutional rights of Ohioans. The purpose of SJR 1 is to place the amendment to the Ohio Constitution on the ballot without requiring the Ohio Project to complete petition signing.

Analysis of the proposals shows that neither the Ohio Project’s amendment, nor any of the measures in the General Assembly provide a comprehensive approach to nullifying the federal health care mandate, as the Tenth Amendment Center’s model legislation and Nebraska’s LB 515 do. SJR 1 subtly alters the wording of the proposed Constitutional amendment from “no federal, state, or local law or rule shall…” to “No law or rule shall…” This has raised concerns that a court could interpret the amendment to refer only to Ohio law, and not federal law. In addition, the language of each proposal leaves the implication that Ohio considers unrelated provisions of the federal law to be Constitutional and appropriate.

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CLICK HERE to view the Tenth Amendment Center’s Health Care Freedom Act legislative tracking page

The Tenth Amendment Center has released the Federal Health Care Nullification Act, which directly nullifies the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” on a state level. Click here to learn more about the bill. CLICK HERE to track the Nullification Act in states around the country.

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