It’s almost eerie to me how very, very little Obamacare seems to have factored into the debt discussions so far, given what a documentable driver of the deficit the Affordable Care Act will ironically prove to be. But in Ohio, at least, citizens continue to talk about the massive new entitlement program — and, in fact, to do more than talk.
More than 540,000 voters in the state have signed petitions in favor of a ballot initiative to amend Ohio’s state constitution to directly conflict with Obamacare’s individual mandate.
Pending the secretary of state’s approval, the initiative will appear on ballots statewide in November 2011, alongside a union-driven initiative to repeal Senate Bill 5, which limited public workers’ collective bargaining rights.
Ohio Liberty Council’s Chris Littleton told The Daily Caller that there are two major prongs to the health care amendment. First, it will challenge Obamacare’s individual mandate. Second, it will prevent Ohio from passing any state-based version of Obamacare.
If it passes, backers of the amendment will ask the state to stop implementing Obamacare immediately — because such implementation will be in violation of the state constitution. But even in that case, Ohioans wouldn’t automatically be shielded from the effects of the national health care overhaul law. Legal challenges to the state constitutional amendment would likely ensue.
Maurice Thompson, general counsel for Ohioans for Health Care Freedom, the group behind the initiative for a state amendment, is hopeful, though. He told The Daily Caller he thinks supporters of the amendment could succeed legally going forward.
Ohioans aren’t the only Americans who remain concerned — and angry — about PPACA. Research group Resurgent Republic recently conducted a series of focus groups with self-identified strong Republicans and Tea Partiers.
When it comes to President Obama’s health care law among these voters, the perception of these voters has hardly changed: the intensity remains strong and they still want it repealed, McLaughlin said.
“They’re definitely fired up,” he said. “They definitely would like an opportunity to go out and try things in the next election.”
That’s no surprise, really. Obamacare has been a signature Tea Party issue from the start. But it is a much-needed reminder to everyone not talking about health care reform or repeal in Congress that it’s still a major election issue.