For Immediate Release: September 1, 2011
Contact: Dale Butland, 614-783-5833
IO, Case Law Professors Say Issue 3 is “Bad Medicine”
Amendment Wording Threatens Numerous Ohio Laws, Rules and Regulations
Columbus: Innovation Ohio, a progressive think tank headquartered in Columbus, along with Professors Maxwell Mehlman and Jessie Hill of the Case Western University School of Law today charged that a proposed amendment to the Ohio constitution, the “Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment” (Issue 3 on the November ballot), is “so sloppily and ambiguously worded that it would threaten a wide range of already-existing Ohio health programs, practices and policies enacted and supported by Republican and Democratic office-holders alike.”
The analysis, done jointly by IO and Professors Mehlman and Hill, is contained in a report entitled “Bad Medicine: Unintended Consequences of Ohio’s Issue 3.” Read the report here.
IO’s President (Janetta King) and Communications Director (Dale Butland) hosted a Columbus news conference in which the professors participated via video conference from Cleveland.
The four said that while Issue 3 is apparently aimed at eliminating the so-called “individual mandate” to purchase health insurance under the recently enacted Affordable Care Act, few Ohioans appear to have actually read the full text of the proposed amendment. Yet the language, definitions and prohibitions contained in the amendment are so broadly worded that Issue 3 would also ban or freeze in place (and not allow for any future changes to) countless other laws, rules and reporting requirements designed to provide oversight of the medical and insurance professions, and to protect workers, consumers and the public health.
Among the laws, programs and policies likely to be affected are:
- The Workers’ Compensation System
- Child Support Enforcement Orders
- College and University Student Health Insurance Coverage Requirements
- The Monitoring of “Pill Mills”
- Abortion Notifications under the newly enacted HB 78 (and possibly the Act itself)
- Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Tax Levies
- School Immunizations and Disease Tracking (such as smallpox, influenza and HIV)
- Licensing of Health Care Providers and Insurance Agents
The report further notes that the multiple ambiguities contained in the amendment (including its failure to define even such key terms as “wrongdoing”) would lead to such a “litigation nightmare” that the proposed amendment might reasonably be subtitled “The Lawyers’ Full Employment Act of 2011.”
Said IO Communications Director Dale Butland:
“The sponsors of Issue 3 aimed at the Affordable Care Act, but hit dozens of other laws and regulations that Ohioans depend on to keep them safe and healthy. Putting such a carelessly worded amendment into our state constitution would be an unmitigated disaster. It is bad law, bad policy and bad medicine. We urge all Ohioans to protect themselves and their families by voting ‘no’ on Issue 3 this November. It is literally not a law we can live with.”