November 2018 marks the 7th anniversary of Ohio’s Healthcare Freedom Amendment, a Citizens lead constitutional amendment that passed in all 88 counties with over 2/3’s of Ohio Voters saying NO to Obamacare in Ohio.

As State Director of The Ohio Project,  I had the honor of working directly with hundreds of Conservative and Liberty group in Ohio, and the 4,000 volunteers who worked to collect the 1/2 million signatures required to get the Healthcare Freedom Amendment (21st Amendment to Ohio’s Constitution) on the ballot in November of 2011.

I’m often asked how Ohio Conservative and Liberty groups seem to be so well organized and work together,  I point to The Ohio Project and its goal to stop Obamacare in Ohio as being a common cause that united the diverse organizations in Ohio.

 

Although Obamacare was far reaching at all Federal levels (See Flow Chart) , it had three pillars that held it up and made it work:  The individual mandate, Federal exchanges that were to be operated by the states, and Medicaid Expansion. The Individual Mandate required all US citizens to buy healthcare insurance. The state exchanges acted as the “store” where the citizens would buy their required insurance. And, Medicaid Expansion significantly altered the definition of low income,  provided funding for all those that meet the new standard,  where they would buy insurance on the exchange.

How did the Healthcare Freedom Amendment work to Stop Obamacare in Ohio

The 21st Amendment to Ohio’s Constitution made it illegal to force any Ohio citizen to participate in a healthcare system, decapitating Obamacare individual mandate and halting Obamacare state operated exchanges in Ohio..

Shortly after its passage, myself and other leaders from The Ohio Project were called into a meeting with Ohio’s Governor John Kasich on how Ohio was going to implement the Federal Obamacare Exchanges.  We reminded Gov Kasich that it was now illegal to force anyone in Ohio to buy healthcare insurance and that was the sole purpose of the Exchanges.  We advised Gov Kasich that if he attempted to proceed with the exchanges,  The Ohio Project would sue the state of Ohio to stop the Federal exchanges. Gov Kasich’s legal team advised the Gov that we were correct, and Ohio would lose if we sued them.

Why the Healthcare Freedom Amendment wasn’t able to Stop Obamacare in Ohio

Although the 21st Amendment stopped two of the pillars of Obamacare,  we were dismayed and saddened when Republican Governor John Kasich used an unethical and little know Ohio financial procedure to skirt around the wishes of Ohio’s voters  and implement Obamacare Medicaid Expansion, the Ohio Controlling board.

Although Ohio’s Legislature made a cursory attempt to halt the workaround,  The findings of the court stated that the Governor was fully within the law to use the Controlling Board to implement Obamacare.  The court also stated that the Republican Legislature was fully within their rights to revoke Controlling Board authority to be used in this manner.  The Republican Legislature never revoked this type of use of the Controlling Board.

In 2016 The Ohio Republican Legislature de-funded Obamacare Medicaid Expansion from Ohio Budget.  The de-funding was line item vetoed by Republican Governor John Kasich.  Sadly,  Ohio’s Republican controlled legislature refused to override this veto,  so once again Ohio voters are going to foot the bill for a Federal Program that they don’t want.

In 2018 we’re faced with a Republican Governor candidate, DeWine/Husted, who openly support Obamacare Medicaid Expansion.  I’m not sure how the Ohio Republican Legislature will reconcile this.  Two possible scenarios:

1) Would a Republican Legislature go against a Republican Governor and halt Obamacare Medicaid Expansion.  Unfortunately,  the events of the past few years say no, they wont. Especially when the Governor holds substantial power and influence over the legislature when they are the same party.

2) If Ohio had a Democrat Governor, its possible that a Republican Legislature would fight against a Democrat Governor, but I wouldn’t count on it.

3) Possible initiation of a Citizens Initiative to stop Obamcare Medicaid Expansion in Ohio.

Ohio taxpayers are going to get stuck with the bill for Obamacare Medicaid Expansion.  Its unfortunate that those who straddled Ohio’s taxpayers with this burden will be long gone and won’t have to accept any responsibility for this irresponsible spending.