Ohio Farm Bureau Board supports Issue 3, neutral on Issue 1

Buckeye Farm News

Based on state policy set by its members, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) is supporting Issue 3 and staying neutral on Issue 1 in the upcoming election.

Issue 3 is a constitutional amendment that challenges a portion of President Obama’s health care reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” One provision of the law requires that every U.S. citizen purchase health insurance. Language in Issue 3 says that its goal is to “preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their health care and health care coverage.”

“Issue 3 is a citizen-led signature petition led by the Tea Parties and similar organizations to put language into the Ohio Constitution that they believe will keep Ohio from having to comply with the mandate that everyone purchases health insurance,” said Beth Vanderkooi, Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of state policy.

Proponents say passing the bill will protect Ohioans’ health care freedom and their right to choose a doctor and health insurance. They argue that without health care freedom the government can force residents to purchase costly government-defined health insurance, force them to disclose private medical information, make them pay more to upgrade existing health insurance to meet government requirements and prohibit them from obtaining private medical treatment.

Opponents argue voting against Issue 3 will make health care more secure because working families won’t be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. They argue 1.4 million Ohioans have been shut out of the insurance market because of pre-existing conditions and high insurance costs. They also say voting no helps protect Ohioans from the risk of losing their coverage or being forced into bankruptcy when someone gets sick.

Ohio Farm Bureau is supporting Issue 3 because it has very strong policy that opposes the recent health care reform law, including the individual mandate, Vanderkooi said.

Issue 1 is a constitutional amendment placed on the ballot by the General Assembly. It would raise the age limit to be a judge from 70 to 75. It also removes archaic provisions regarding courts of conciliation and a Supreme Court comission. These provisions were adopted in the 1800’s but were never used in Ohio. OFBF is not taking a stance on Issue 1 after a policy review showed no applicable policy. Vanderkooi noted that there have been various proposals over the years to raise the age limit for judges with proponents saying many judges are still excellent in their profession after age 70. Opponents argue that as judges get older their mental capacity decreases and that having more older judges prevents new people from becoming judges.

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