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Ohio groups want voters to tackle healthcare reform

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19)  - On Monday. thousands of Ohioans took a stand to try to limit the healthcare reform bill's impact in the state. Members of the Ohio Liberty Council (OLC) want to be able to vote on health care reform.

The bill has stirred up emotions from downtown Cincinnati this weekend to Washington D.C. Some were against the bill.

"I think it's an incredible loss of freedom welcomed by thunderous applause," said Scott Woolley

While others like Shirley Madaris supported it.

"I think it's a good idea because I think our elderly, the poor and our children, we need healthcare," Madaris said.

Chris Littleton agrees many Americans do need healthcare, but he says this new bill is not the answer.

"The fact that the government simply removed the ability to choose is scary," Littleton said.

To ease right-wing fears, Littleton developed a plan.

Littleton is president of the Cincinnati Tea Party and the OLC. On Monday, the OLC, a statewide coalition of over 25 grassroots groups, formally proposed an Ohio constitutional amendment that would allow citizens to vote on one part of the health reform bill: government required healthcare. The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law drafted the amendment.

The group needed 1000 signatures to get the Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to consider it. They got 3000 signatures from registered voters in 48 counties.

"They got 100 signatures from just sitting in a parking lot," said Littleton.

Now, members will wait a week and a half to see if Cordray allows it. By law, the Attorney General and Secretary of State have 10 business days to complete their respective processes.

Several state legislatures have introduced bills to propose constitutional amendments to block the individual mandates contained in the new federal regulations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Members of the OLC said Monday's filing is the nation's first citizen-initiated action.

"They are a lot of states pursuing different remedies," said Cincinnati Tea Party founder Mike Wilson. "There are attorneys general across the country that are suing the federal government over this. Ohio is unique in that it is the first state that's actually pursuing a constitutional amendment to get that done."

If so, they'll have to collect 600,000 signatures to get the amendment on Ohio's November ballot. Organizers said it's all possible under the Constitution's supremacy clause.

"In this case, under the 10th amendment we actually do have the ability as Ohioans when it's not related to commerce," Littleton said.

The amendment provides that:

· In Ohio, no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system;

· In Ohio, no law or rule shall prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance; and

· In Ohio, no law or rule shall impose a penalty or fine for the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance.

The amendment does not:

· Affect laws or rules in effect as of March 19, 2010;

· Affect which services a health care provider or hospital is required to perform or provide;

· Affect terms and conditions of government employment; and

· Affect any laws calculated to deter fraud or punish wrongdoing in the health care industry.


Littleton said even if the Ohio Attorney General does not approve the amendment, he says the OLC plans to take the fight to the Ohio Supreme Court.


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