Affordable Care Act provision could be cut down by Legislative Referendum 122
The Affordable Care Act is one of the most controversial legislations in the U.S.’s modern history. While the law aims to provide Americans with access to affordable health insurance coverage, it also requires them to purchase this coverage or risk fines and, in the most extreme circumstances, jail time. The insurance mandate has been at the crux of the controversy surrounding the law, and was the reason it landed before the Supreme Court earlier this year. While the Supreme Court determined that the law was justified, the future of the Affordable Care Act is still uncertain, whether due to the outcome of the presidential election or a policy known as Legislative Referendum 122.
Measure aims to ban federal and state governments from mandating health insurance coverage
Legislative Referendum 122 will appear on ballots beginning November 6, 2012. The measure prohibits both state and federal governments from making the purchase of health insurance mandatory. It also bars these governing bodies from imposing any kind of penalty against those that choose not to purchase health insurance coverage. The measure does not protect those that are called to purchase insurance coverage by a court of law.
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Measure made broad to avoid federal confrontation
Legislative Referendum 122 is sponsored by Senator Art Wittich, who intentionally made the measure broad to ensure that it could not be dismantled by issues concerning tax laws. When issuing a ruling on the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court determined that the insurance mandate outlined by the law was constitutional because it represented a form of inter-state tax regulation. The measure proposed by Senator Wittich could fall into the same category, thus protecting the measure and enabling it to avoid a clash with the federal government.
Fate of health insurance mandate to be ultimately decided in November
While several of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act have been met with favor by consumers, the insurance mandate remains one of the most controversial aspects of the law to date. The mandate is not scheduled to take effect until January 2014, giving states little time to address the issue. Presidential contender Mitt Romney has vowed to dismantle the Affordable Care Act if he wins the election, which could make Legislative Referendum 122 redundant.