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Rep. Thompson on 'Healthcare Freedom Act'
Posted on: 03/11/2013
By  Mike Cullums
Interview conducted by Andy Rex
 
In a press conference at the Statehouse last week, State Representative Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) discussed new legislation he's co-sponsoring that he says will protect Ohio employers and residents from the penalty provisions included in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  
 
WMOA News followed up with a telephone interview in which Thompson explains that the main objective of House Bill 91 is to make sure that Ohioans can still choose the health care they want.   

“With the federal Affordable Care Act otherwise known as Obamacare coming into effect as we speak, that will limit Ohioans’ freedom to choose the healthcare they want and frankly it will compel them to have healthcare they probably don’t want,” Thompson states, “so what our bill does is, it takes the subsidies under the plan, and the subsidies as well, and those will have to be carried through insurance carriers.  
 
“Under our legislation, with the triggering of the subsidies or the triggering of the penalties, those carriers would no longer be in good standing in the state of Ohio. This is something that was written into the president’s healthcare plan at the last minutes – a reinforcement of the notion that the states are in charge of insurance regulation, and (decide) who is an approved carrier,” he says.   

The Affordable Care Act requires employers and individuals to purchase government-defined health insurance plans, and those that do not comply are subject to tax penalties.  Thompson says House Bill 91 is designed to stop that.  
 
“Businesses that have 50 employees will be forced to participate in the program or be penalized for that – and even those who have fewer than 50 (fulltime) employees but who have fulltime equivalence to that. So our goal is to utilize a component of the (federal) healthcare plan to defeat the imposition of Obamacare in Ohio.”
 
In addition, Thompson says House Bill 91 enforces a provision of a healthcare-related constitutional amendment, approved by Ohio voters in 2011.  
 
“It passed in all 88 counties. It passed with well over 60 percent support. So it was a pretty strong mandate saying that Ohioans rejected the individual mandate. Our legislation assists Ohioans and Ohio businesses in avoiding the worst aspects of the healthcare law.”
 
HB 91, which is called the "Healthcare Freedom Act," has been referred to the House Health and Aging Committee.
 
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