MUST READ: Toledo Blade “Wasted tax dollars”

The Toledo Blade called the proposed ballot issue to amend federal health-care reform passed by congress last year “wasted tax dollars.” Excerpts of the Blade Editorial follow:

“Ohio Republicans and Tea Party types don’t need to use taxpayer dollars to keep griping about President Obama’s health-care reform plan. Yet that will be the biggest, and maybe the only, effect of a proposal on the statewide ballot this November that purports to block a pending provision of ObamaCare requiring Americans to obtain health insurance.

“The ballot issue is likely to do no such thing. The notion that a state constitutional amendment, even one approved by voters, can supersede or nullify federal law is at least questionable. The federal appeals court whose circuit includes Ohio has upheld the health-care law, including the individual mandate.

“The U.S. Supreme Court seems destined to rule on the constitutionality of the mandate, and perhaps the entire law…

“That is a federal issue for the high court to adjudicate. There is no reason to assume the outcome of the Ohio popular vote will affect that process.

“So why spend tax money on this exercise in partisan symbolism …Mostly because it will bring Republican voters to the polls in an off-year election, which also will determine whether a new state law that guts public employees’ collective-bargaining rights will take effect.

“State GOP leaders have made that link cynically clear. The difference is that the outcome of the vote on Senate Bill 5 will have great practical effect, while the ObamaCare vote probably will not.

“The Ohio ballot question does not challenge, or emphasize, the features of the new health-care law that Americans like: its extension of affordable coverage, through private-sector competition, to tens of millions of people who lack health insurance; its requirement that insurers not deny coverage to customers with pre-existing conditions or cancel coverage for policyholders who get sick; its financial incentives to small businesses to insure their employees…

“Instead, it singles out one provision — albeit one that makes the reform law work — as an example of alleged government overreach, because it requires individuals and large employers to arrange for medical coverage or face financial penalties. Yet the ballot proposal’s authors do not seem similarly exercised about the state mandate that requires Ohio motorists to buy auto insurance, evidently because they haven’t figured out how to blame that law on the President and use it to deny him re-election next year.

“…Ohio will waste tax dollars this November to promote a partisan agenda and indulge a Tea Party hobbyhorse. Let’s hear it for the plan’s backers — those champions of cost-efficient, nonintrusive government.”

Read the full editorial here.

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