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Ohio's Condition Worsens Under Democrat Prescription


COLUMBUS—After the federal health care package passed in March, a package estimated to cost nearly $95 billion annually over the next decade, the Ohio House Republicans are working to minimize the bill’s damage to Ohio’s economy through unique legislative measures.

“As a small business owner, I’m troubled that the national health care directive will damage businesses nationwide, especially here in Ohio,” Rep. Barbara Sears (R-Maumee) said. “Levying costly mandates and regulations on small businesses will only expedite job loss within the Buckeye state.”

To alleviate the tax burden that the health care bill placed on the backs of the very people it was designed to help, Rep. Sears and Rep. Ron Maag (R-Lebanon) introduced House Joint Resolution 3, the Ohio Health Care Freedom Act. This is a measure that will propose an amendment to Ohio’s constitution that would prohibit any Ohio law or rule from forcing any person, employer or health care provider to participate in a health care system. Additionally, Rep. Sears and Rep. Terry Boose (R-Norwalk) introduced House Bill 489. When enacted, this legislation would affirm that it is the state’s policy that no Ohioan can be required to purchase an individual health insurance policy, nor can Ohioans be penalized for exercising their choice to opt out.

“The people of our state are already soaked with high taxes, fines and penalties, and we have a responsibility as policymakers to protect our constituents from further financial burdens,” Rep. Boose said. “Washington’s health care mandates are a bad deal for Ohio, and they fail to address what is truly lacking in our nation’s health care system.”

However, as crucial as HJR 3 and HB 489 seem, both measures have been stifled by the House Democrats. Since its introduction in August 2009, HJR 3 has only received sponsor testimony in the House Insurance Committee and has been inactive for more than five months. Similarly, HB 489 has not even been assigned to a committee since its introduction in early April.

“These measures will protect the freedom of Ohioans to make their own health care decisions, especially during this time of economic turmoil,” Rep. Maag said. “With an $8 billion deficit in the next budget, Ohioans cannot afford a bill that will skyrocket taxes and deepen our deficit.”

House Republicans hope to engage in bipartisan discussions on both of these measures before the House adjourns for summer recess.