Be it enacted by the People of Arizona:It prohibits the State of Arizona from passing any legislation that prevents individuals from choosing to purchase or decline to purchase any type of health care or health care insurance from what's available, or that imposes a penalty or fine for doing so. That's it. It doesn't introduce any new taxes, it doesn't ban any state spending on health care programs, it doesn't prevent anything except the institution of a state health care or health care insurance program that requires mandatory participation, and it guarantees your right to privately arrange for health care with your own funds from the health care provider of your own choice.
ARTICLE II, SECTION 36. BECAUSE ALL PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT THEIR HEALTH CARE, NO LAW SHALL BE PASSED THAT RESTRICTS A PERSON'S FREEDOM OF CHOICE OF PRIVATE HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS OR PRIVATE PLANS OF ANY TYPE. NO LAW SHALL INTERFERE WITH A PERSON'S OR ENTITY'S RIGHT TO PAY DIRECTLY FOR LAWFUL MEDICAL SERVICES, NOR SHALL ANY LAW IMPOSE A PENALTY OR FINE, OF ANY TYPE, FOR CHOOSING TO OBTAIN OR DECLINE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE OR FOR PARTICIPATION IN ANY PARTICULAR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM OR PLAN.
Now, this does ban some kinds of health care program that some people advocate, such as the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Law of 2006, which required all Massachusetts residents to purchase health care insurance or face legal penalties--similar to mandatory automobile insurance. That program, supported by Gov. Mitt Romney, is similar to Hillary Clinton's health care proposal, but neither Obama nor McCain advocates mandatory health care insurance. If they did, however, this proposition would not prevent such a program from being instituted at the federal level.
But the opposition to Proposition 101 has been wholly deceptive. Here's some text from a mailer sent out to most Arizona residents last week:
Top 5 Reasons To Vote No On 101Most of these items are simply fabrications or non sequiturs put forth without argument, and the mailer conveniently fails to mention anything about what the proposition actually says. Further, this mailing contained a photograph of Gov. Janet Napolitano under the State Seal of Arizona, which is a violation of state law, a class 3 misdemeanor.
Is an unclear permanent constitutional amendment that is so poorly written that it will ensure that our health care decisions will be dictated by the courts for years to come.
Makes health insurance so expensive, employers will be unable to provide coverage for their employees.
Jeopardizes Arizona's Medicare and Medicaid programs by destroying the cost containment measures adopted to provide affordable health care.
Is opposed by Doctor groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Will increase health care costs to Arizona taxpayers by $2 Billion.
The signs by the roadside urging opposition to Proposition 101 are equally deceptive, and include the claim that it will increase health care costs to Arizona taxpayers by $2 billion.
I've also seen claims online (in the comments on about.com's discussion) that Prop. 101 is backed by the insurance industry. That's false--it's opposed by the insurance industry, because they support mandatory health insurance programs for obvious reasons. This was a grassroots effort, led by Arizona doctors Eric Novack and Jeff Singer. (I contributed to the funds for signature collection for this ballot proposition.)
I've also seen claims at about.com that Prop. 101 will deregulate the healthcare and health insurance industries. Again, nonsense--the proposition has no effect on the state's ability to regulate healthcare or health insurance, except that it can't impose mandatory insurance or prevent you from purchasing any legal healthcare service or program. It doesn't say that the state can't ban or regulate healthcare, or determine what constitutes lawful healthcare.
The opponents of Prop. 101 are engaging in the most deceptive campaign against a ballot proposition that I've seen in several years. If you think the state of Arizona should be able to impose mandatory health insurance, then that's a reason to vote no on Prop. 101. If you think the right to opt-in or opt-out of health care or health insurance coverage should be left to the individual, then that's a reason to vote yes on Prop. 101.
Clint Bolick of the Goldwater Institute has issued a press release about the deceptive arguments against Proposition 101. I've been meaning to write something about it since I received the dishonest mailing, but seeing his press release prompted me to actually do it.
UPDATE (November 12, 2008): Prop. 101 was defeated in a very close race, 961,567 votes against and 950,440 votes for.