WASHINGTON -- Five states included ballot initiatives on Tuesday designed to nullify features of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (ACA), with most targeting its keystone, the health-insurance mandate. Voters in four of the five states approved the amendments, but will likely see no change in the roll out of the ACA in their state.
As Scott Sinder, a partner with Steptoe & Johnson LLP, chair of the firm's government affairs and public policy practice group and outside council for NACS, told CSP Daily News last week, these amendments were "political theater" and largely symbolic considering the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the constitutionality of the health-care mandate in the ACA.
"We have a federal statute, it's the law of the land and it overrides any conflicting state requirements or laws," he said
(See Related Content below for previous CSP Daily News coverage.)
A brief summary of voters' verdicts at press time:
Alabama's Amendment 6, which proposed an amendment to the state constitution to prohibit any person, employer or health-care provider from being compelled to participate in a health-care system, earned 59% of the vote, with 99% of precincts reporting, according to CNN.
Florida's Amendment 1 was defeated with 51% voting no, according to CNN. The amendment, which fell short of the 60% required voter support to be made into law, would have prohibited laws or rules from compelling any person or employer to purchase, obtain or otherwise provide for health care coverage.
Wyoming's Amendment A, which was approved by 77% of voters, declares that no federal or state law, rule or administrative decision shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health-care system.
With 91% of the vote in, CNN shows that Montana's Referendum 122 has received support from 67% of voters. The ballot measure prohibits the state and federal governments from requiring the purchase of health insurance or imposing any penalty, tax fee or fine on those who do not purchase health insurance.
In Missouri, Proposition E, which would prohibit the governor or any state agency from establishing operating a state-based health-insurance exchange unless authorized to do so by the legislature or vote of the people, was approved by approximately 62% of voters. The ACA requires states to have set up and running a health insurance exchange with or without federal help by 2014. While Governor Jay Nixon has said he will not take steps to set up an exchange without authorization, the state faces a deadline to submit a plan for an exchange by Nov. 16.