Monday, October 24, 2011
NEOCH Board Urges a No Vote on Issue 3
The NEOCH Board voted to urge our Ohio members to oppose Issue 3 this November. The board cited the confusing language on the ballot and the unknown repercussions it could have for other mandated government services. The Board worried that the constitutional amendment declaring Ohioans could not be forced to obtain insurance could result in unnecessary lawsuits. There is real concern that the amendment would make it impossible for a judge to order that a non-custodial parent to buy health insurance for their child. Finally, there was concern over the State's ability to regulate insurance companies if this amendment is approved.
We believe that the Affordable Care Act will benefit our constituency, and should be expanded in Ohio. At this time, very few of our constituents are eligible for Medicaid, because they are not determined to be disabled. If we can enroll an additional 20 or 40 or even 60 percent of the homeless population in Medicaid, those resources would be freed to provide additional health care services to the population. We may be able to provide additional mental health services or additional alcohol and drug services to the population when the law is fully implemented in 2014.
The NEOCH Board understands that the only way to get close to universal health care in this current environment is to require individuals to maintain health insurance. We do not believe that Issue 3 is unconstitutional and so this measure is largely symbolic. The message with a "yes" vote is a statement that Ohio citizens do not believe that every citizen has a right to health care. A yes vote means that crippling, life long debt should be a part of our health care system for one third of our population. A yes vote is purely a cynical attempt to attack the President and supporters in Congress who passed the Affordable Health Care Act.
While we recognize that the American Health Care system is not perfect. We believe that this is a small step toward universal health care in order to join the rest of the developed economies in the United States. The symbolism of voting "NO" is that the United States needs to take a leap forward toward more health care coverage for those in the service sector, those living below poverty and without a disability, and we need expanded coverage for the Moms working two part time jobs.
NEOCH urges a No vote on Issue 3.
Posted on Behalf of the NEOCH Board of Trustees
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