In three states voters will have a say on health reform

Colorado, Arizona and Oklahoma voters will have a chance to vote against one of the main provisions of the federal health reform bill, requiring health insurance or facing a tax penalty beginning in 2014.

In Colorado voters will choose whether or not the state can require residents to purchase health insurance and participate in the health care industry. Some in the insurance industry say that if adopted the measure only impacts state-level legislation and residents would still be required to prove they have a federally approved plan in 2014.

Arizona and Oklahoma voters will consider a measure similar to the one that Missouri voters already approved by more than 70 percent in August. According to Kaiser Health News, the measures center on state provisions to prohibit individuals to have a public or private health plan, allow a person to pay directly for medical services (outside a health insurance plan), and prohibit penalties for those who fail to enroll in health insurance.

Despite the appearance of these measures on the ballot, and similar laws passed earlier this year in Georgia, Virginia, Louisiana and Idaho, most analysts don’t believe these measures would invalidate the requirements of the federal health reform law passed by Congress in March.

The federal mandate to be insured will surely be tested all the way to the Supreme Court and an analyst with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Christine Herrara, thinks even if the individual mandate is upheld, state constitutional amendments open another avenue for litigation.

The political statements made by proponents of the measures, and by citizens in states that approve them, will embolden opponents of the federal health reform bill. It is clear that Republicans in Congress wish to do all they can to repeal the bill or at least to prevent its full implementation.

Visit the Election Center for all of CSG's election coverage.