On Friday, December 21, 2012, Governor Kasich signed an executive order which mandates all Ohioans that purchase insurance to purchase autism coverage. Soon afterward on Friday, December 21, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, author of the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment (which passed with 66% of the vote in November 2011), posted the following message to their Facebook account:
Governor and Ohio General Assembly deliver 11th hour Christmas Present to Powerful Corporate Autism Lobby at Expense of State Constitution’s Health Care Freedom Amendment.
The Legislation signed today compels all Ohioans buying health insurance to purchase autism coverage, in direct violation of the Health Care Freedom Amendment, passed as “Issue 3” in November of 2011.
“Autism Speaks” funded many state political campaigns this fall to ensure that state legislators would vote to force Ohioans to purchase the services of their members-providers.
IF YOU SELL HEALTH CARE COVERAGE OR ARE A MAJOR PURCHASER OF HEALTH CARE COVERAGE WHO WISHES TO BE FREE FROM STATE-BASED MANDATES, PLEASE CONTACT THE 1851 CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL LAW FOR LEGAL REPRESENTATION.
The National Federation of Independent Business strongly spoke out against the action:
“The administration’s decision to include a new mandated autism coverage on small-group health insurance plans offered by small businesses, through executive fiat, will drive up cost and eliminate flexibility for Ohio’s job creators as they continue to struggle to provide healthcare coverage to their employees,” said Roger R. Geiger, Vice President and Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business/Ohio.
In the same manner the federal government continues to interject in the healthcare decisions of small-business owners, the state of Ohio has now decided to follow suit. It is very discouraging to see the state of Ohio follow the federal government in mandating what they feel is best for small businesses.”
Several Ohio republican legislators and Governor Kasich himself signed the petition for the Healthcare Freedom Amendment in 2010 and 2011 when Ohio liberty group volunteers collected over 425,000 signatures to place the amendment on the November 2011 statewide ballot. We find it ironic and, of course, very disappointing that Governor Kasich has now violated the very amendment that he supported. Perhaps the only way he could repay favors owed to the Autism lobby was through executive order, since it would have put many Ohio legislators which supported the Healthcare Freedom Amendment in a very awkward spot. Why? Don’t forget that all Ohio republican representatives and senators supported the Ohio liberty groups’ attempt to pass a bill to legislatively initiate the Healthcare Freedom Amendment via the Ohio house and senate in early 2011.
If you want to read more about the bill’s passage and comments from the Autism lobby, see the Plain Dealer’s December 21st article, Gov. John Kasich adds autism treatment services to Ohio’s health insurance plans.