Arizona Ballot Measure Would Make Mandated Health Coverage Illegal

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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The Arizona Daily Star on Monday examined a measure appearing on Arizona's November ballot that would amend the state's constitution to prohibit laws that mandate people obtain health coverage, or that restrict an individual's choice of private health care systems or private health plans. Proposition 101 also would prohibit laws that interfere with an individual's "right to pay directly for lawful medical services" or that impose a penalty or fine on an individual who chooses not to obtain coverage.

Supporters of the measure say they are concerned that mandatory health coverage could give state lawmakers "more power to dictate physician choices and treatment options than the insurance companies and HMOs already wield." Proponents of Proposition 101 include the Arizona Dental Association, the Arizona Restaurant Association, the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association, the Arizona Chiropractic Society, the Arizona Homeopathic & Integrative Medical Association and the Goldwater Institute.

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Opponents say the proposition is "ambiguous, poorly written and will wind up in the courts," the Daily Star reports. Anthony Rodgers -- director of Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state's Medicaid program -- in a memo wrote that the proposition language that would prevent the government from restricting choice of private health care could be interpreted by judges to include private contractors used by AHCCCS. According to the Daily Star, it is not financially possible to allow AHCCCS beneficiaries to select their providers because the program works on a managed care model. Other opponents of the measure include University Physicians Healthcare, the Arizona chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Arizona Academy of Family Physicians and the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association.

A group of proposition supporters have filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against AHCCCS, saying that taxpayer money should not be used to campaign against a ballot measure. Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) in a prepared statement said, "We simply can't afford the unintended consequences of Proposition 101, which could take away benefits from thousands of Arizona families and drive up costs for taxpayers" (Innes, Arizona Daily Star, 10/20).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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