Ohio voters will be asked Nov. 8 whether they support Issue 3, which proposes an amendment to Ohio's constitution that would keep state residents from being required to enroll in the federal health care program being referred to by critics as "Obamacare."
Retired Marietta physician Russell Schreiber said he is opposed to Issue 3 and is a strong supporter of the federal health care legislation, officially titled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
"It's morally unethical to vote against this health care bill," said Schreiber, 65. "It's important to have health care for all the children, including those who can't afford it and those who have pre-existing medical conditions."
ASHLEY RITTENHOUSE The Marietta Times
Sierra Dawson, a certified medical assistant at Quick Care on Pike Street in Marietta, checks Reno resident Richard Hockenberry’s blood pressure Friday afternoon. Issue 3, which pertains to the federal health care law, is among those Ohio voters will decide in the November election.
Many of those in favor of the legislation say they support it, and oppose Issue 3, because the federal plan means insurance companies will be stopped from excluding people with pre-existing medical conditions from getting health insurance.
Voting "no" on Issue 3 also means working parents will be allowed to include their children under their employer's health care plan until age 26.
That's one reason why Marietta resident Sam Gwinn said he is in favor of the federal health care program.
Ohio Issue 3:
It would provide that in Ohio, no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system.
It would provide that in Ohio, no law or rule shall prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance.
It would provide that in Ohio, no law or rule shall impose a penalty or fine for the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance.
The proposed amendment would not:
Affect laws or rules in effect as of March 19, 2010.
Affect which services a health care provider or hospital is required to perform or provide.
Affect terms and conditions of government employment.
Affect any laws calculated to deter fraud or punish wrongdoing in the health care industry.
If approved, the amendment will be effective 30 days after the election.
Source: Ohio Secretary of State's website, www.sos.state.oh.us.
"When these kids get out of college with no jobs and no insurance, that's a great help to them," said Gwinn, 77.
The Ohio Secretary of State's website also indicates voting "no" on Issue 3 will ensure everyone takes responsibility to pay their fair share into the health care system for care they use when sick or injured, instead of shifting costs onto people who pay for insurance.
Those who support Issue 3 argue that people shouldn't be forced to purchase "costly government-defined health insurance," according to website. Doing so is unconstitutional, critics have argued.
Anthony Goocey, nurse practitioner at Quick Care on Pike Street in Marietta, agrees with that argument.
"There are problems in the health care system and things that need to be fixed but I'm not a big fan of mandatory anything. I think we should have the right to refuse," he said.
Goocey added that at least half of the patients he sees have Medicare or Medicaid and he also treats patients that do not have insurance.
"We do see a lot of patients without coverage and we try to do so as cost effectively as we can as far as prescribing generic medications and doing the minimal amount of lab work we can," he said.
A total of 546,000 signatures were submitted to Secretary of State Jon Husted's office in order to get the proposed amendment placed on the November general election ballot and among those collecting the signatures was Belpre resident Bill Fulton, 73.
He spends some of his time volunteering at Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital and he is on Medicare.
"Most people you talk to feel we should have the choice," Fulton said. "I don't know anybody that likes forced into doing anything in this day and age."
"Hopefully the (United States) Supreme Court will rule it's unconstitutional - that's the whole crux of it," Fulton added.