tbo: Tampa Bay Online.
Thursday, Jul 27, 2017

Vote no on Amendment 1

If you oppose the Affordable Health Care Act, as we do, then you'll be inclined to support Amendment 1, which prohibits laws or rules "compelling any person or employer to purchase, obtain, or otherwise provide for health care coverage." But the measure is largely meaningless and could even hamper the state's ability to devise health care solutions should Obamacare ever be repealed. The Republican-dominated Legislature put the proposal on the ballot in 2011, a year before the U.S. Supreme found the federal health care act constitutional and rendered the amendment's anti-individual mandate language moot. Under the U.S. Constitution's "supremacy clause," federal law takes precedence over the state in such matters.
The amendment, should it pass, would have no impact on the Affordable Health Care Act. Supporters say that it would at least reflect voters' anger over the mandate. But the state constitution should not be used as a straw poll to let voters vent. Moreover, if Obamacare is jettisoned and states take responsibility for health-care solutions, the amendment would prevent lawmakers from even considering an insurance requirement. We doubt the individual mandate would be the right approach for Florida, but Mitt Romney used it successfully in his Massachusetts' health care plan. Why remove it from the table? Future Florida voters might feel differently about an insurance requirement that is debated and developed at the state level than they do about the sweeping commands of the Affordable Health Care Act. This proposal won't make a dent in Washington, but it could handcuff elected officials in Tallahassee. On Amendment 1, The Tampa Tribune recommends a no vote.
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