Wednesday May 26, 2010

Oklahoma Voters May Nullify Fed Health Care Law in November

By Peter J. Smith

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 26, 2010 ( – Voters in Oklahoma will be given a chance in November to decide whether they want to reject the core of the recently-enacted national health care reform, which includes taxpayer-funded abortion and requires individuals to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, thanks to a legislative action that bypassed the objections of pro-abortion Democrat Gov. Brad Henry.

The state’s House of Representatives approved Senate Joint Resolution 59 with a strong bipartisan majority of 88-9. SJR 59 allows citizens to vote up or down a state constitutional amendment that would prohibit “forced participation in a health care system,” and allow individuals to pay directly for health services and carry private health insurance.

The House had waited to act on the Senate resolution, in hopes of overriding the governor’s veto of a resolution that would have enacted the ban via statute. However, after the veto override attempt failed last week, the House enacted the version putting the question to voters.

Because the SJR 59 is a referendum question, the decision will bypass the governor and go directly to the people on the November 2 state ballot. The measure is based on American Legislative Exchange Council’s model Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act.

If enacted, Oklahoma will follow the lead of Virginia, Idaho, and Arizona in challenging President Barack Obama’s signature legislation on the basis of state law, but with a twist: the Virginia challenge to the health care bill is based on a state statute, while Oklahoma would up the ante with a constitutional amendment.

Voters in Florida and Arizona will also go to the polls in November to vote on constitutional amendments opting their states out of the national health care law.

“This constitutional amendment will provide Oklahomans with a powerful legal protection against the federal government’s attempt to insert itself into everyday decisions that affect their finances and health,” said Rep. Mike Thompson (R-Oklahoma City), the measure’s sponsor in the House.

He said that legislators were “adamant” that Oklahomans have an opportunity to reject a federal takeover of their health care.

“States have the authority to protect the liberty of their citizens,” Thompson said. “Clearly a close, functional relationship between doctors and their patients is preferable to one dictated by the federal government.”

Gov. Henry’s office condemned the passage of SJR 59, saying that the resolution would only drive Oklahoma into a futile lawsuit with the federal government that would be ruled unconstitutional for conflicting with federal law.

Twenty states are already suing the federal government for constitutional overreach in enacting President Obama’s health care reform.

The attorneys general of Florida, Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Utah, Alabama, Washington, Colorado, Michigan, South Dakota, Idaho, Indiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Mississippi, and Arizona have filed a joint lawsuit in US District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

Virginia is engaged in a separate lawsuit filed with the federal district court in Richmond, where the Justice Department has filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the case.

In all cases, the states assert that the federal mandate on individuals carrying health insurance or pay penalties, violates the prohibition against the direct taxation of individuals outlined in Article I, sections 2 and 9 of the US Constitution. They also invoke the Tenth Amendment reserving to states all powers not delegated to the federal government.

See related coverage by

Feds Demand Court Toss Virginia Lawsuit Against Health Care Law

Oklahoma Legislature Bans Abortion Coverage, Expects Showdown with Governor

New States Join Courtroom Revolt Against ObamaCare


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