Today there will be some important ballot initiatives voted on in Ohio. (Matt Naugle wrote about them for the main site.) The question concerning Gov. John Kasich’s public sector collective bargaining restrictions will understandably get a lot of ink. But the initiative on the individual mandate for health insurance also bears watching.
Put simply, this may be the last referendum on health care before the Supreme Court weighs in. Like the constitutional challenges to Obamacare, it focuses on the individual mandate. If the initiative passes, any law requiring Ohioans to buy health insurance will violate the state constitution. Supporters hope it will give Ohio greater standing to challenge the law. It will certainly contribute to whether or not Supreme Court justices view this as a settled issue.
There are also longer-term political implications. Ohio is a key state for the reelection prospects fro President Obama. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is also up next November. Issue 3 has implications for Republicans too: it forbids not just Obamacare, but the Romneycare on which it is based (note Mitt Romney’s recent reluctance to endorse the initiative). Newt Gingrich also has a history of supporting the individual mandate.