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Ohio adopts health care freedom amendment

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 21, 2011

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Ohio on Nov. 8 became the latest state to approve a constitutional amendment to prevent the state from requiring residents to purchase health insurance.

The amendment was supported by 66% of voters, more than 2.2 million people. It retroactively applies to March 19, 2010, before federal lawmakers approved last year's health system reform law. However, the amendment is not expected to block the law's requirement that individuals obtain health coverage or pay a tax penalty starting in 2014, because federal law generally trumps state law. The Supreme Court announced Nov. 14 that justices would consider state challenges to the individual mandate and the rest of the health reform law.

Voters in Arizona and Oklahoma adopted similar constitutional amendments in November 2010. Missouri voters approved a similarly worded ballot initiative in August 2010.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/11/21/gvbf1121.htm.

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