Voters in Ohio have approved a ballot measure intended to keep the federal government from requiring Ohioans to participate in any health care system. 12.9 percent of Ohio citizens are uninsured and the state has one of the lowest levels of public health funding in the nation, at $41 per individual.
The constitutional amendment passed is largely symbolic, coming in response to the 2009 federal health care overhaul (Obamacare), which includes a provision that requires most Americans purchase health care insurance, which cannot be discontinued if they become ill or canceled due to a pre-existing condition.
The Tea Party, corporations and Republicans backing the amendment say the Affordable Care Act, which seeks to provide health care for almost all Americans, was an overreach of power by the Obama administration and Congress.
They hope approval of the ballot issue will ban Ohio from instituting a state-mandated health insurance program like Massachusetts, where all citizens are covered for medical care. Opponents argued state law can't trump federal law and that the amendment's wording could unintentionally jeopardize state health programs.