Ohioans fighting to kill Obamacare with state constitution

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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Ohio-based groups have issued yet another challenge to Obamacare’s constitutionality.

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. (TOUGH MEDICINE: Obamacare still angers conservative voters, focus groups say)

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.

“By definition we’re putting the Ohio constitution in conflict with federal law, meaning it has to be challenged. We’re proud of that. That’s what we wanted to do,” Littleton said.

As for the state-based system protections, Littleton references 2012 Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney’s reforms while he was governor of Massachusetts.

“We wanted this to protect ourselves from something like a state-based system, like Romneycare in Massachusetts, so it wouldn’t happen here,” Littleton said.

The official backer for the initiative is Ohioans for Health Care Freedom. Even if voters pass this ballot measure in November, the battle would then likely move to the courts.

Maurice Thompson, the executive director of the Columbus-based 1851 Center for Constitutional Law and general counsel for the initiative’s backers, told TheDC he’s confident they could succeed legally going forward. But, he said, “there’s no single clear answer” about what would happen should voters pass the amendment to their constitution.

“What we will probably do is file an action on behalf of Ohioans who don’t wish to purchase insurance,” Thompson said, adding that they’d ask the state of Ohio to “stop implementing Obamacare immediately because it will be violating our state constitution.”

Littleton said he’s impressed by how grassroots activists came together around the state to get this done. He said they used little money and had barely any experience as political activists. “If they spent, 30 or 40 grand, I’d be shocked,” Littleton said. “It’s probably one of the most impressive displays of citizen activism ever across the country”

“It could be the biggest moment for the entire liberty movement,” Littleton added. “I’m humbled to be around these people. They gave up their lives for this cause.”