Amendment A: Wielding a Health Freedom Battle Axe

About Steve Klein

serves as Staff Attorney and Research Counsel for the Wyoming Liberty Group.

On Tuesday, Wyoming joined the growing number of states that recognize health care freedom in their state constitutions, with overwhelming passage of Amendment A.  A similar state constitutional amendment passed in Alabama, and in Montana a legislative referendum implements a nullification statute.  Amendment A took four years to implement, going through three legislative sessions before passing in 2011 with supermajorities in both houses, and finally passing the ballot this week with 77% approval. 

It’s interesting how some media and pundits spin Amendment A.  To be sure, the guaranteed effect of Amendment A is to restrain state government, but despite the narrow-minded views of our friends at the Equality State Policy Center and the Casper Star Tribune, Obamacare is not a federal behemoth that can simply march into Wyoming whether we want it to or not.  The state must decide whether to expand Medicaid, whether to set up health insurance exchanges, and so on. 

Well, the people of Wyoming voted—let the fun begin!

As I argued in a Liberty Brief, Amendment A (then titled the Health Care Freedom Amendment) also provides a strong legal challenge against Obamacare.  Even before any legal challenges—which, despite being an attorney, I consider a last resort—the political fallout of Amendment A is sure to be felt throughout the Wyoming government.  Before Tuesday our state had an unlimited police power over health care, made no more evident when our legislature considered forced vaccination bills against a rarely occurring disease last year.  Amendment A makes it clear that the state must respect health care decisions, and now it’s up to the grassroots to make sure that this is a maxim, not a minimum standard. 

We’ve done very well over the past few years fighting off Medicaid expansion and Obamacare implementation, and now we have the state’s constitution as our ally.  Amendment A is a battle axe against statism: wield it, Wyomingites!

 

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