KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Three States To Cast Ballots On Health Insurance Mandate; Others Consider Abortion And Marijuana Questions

News outlets report on health care ballot initiatives in today's election.

"Voters in three states will cast ballots Tuesday on the new healthcare law's individual mandate to buy insurance," The Hill reports. "Arizona and Oklahoma are expected to pass the state constitutional amendment, but it faces an uphill battle in Colorado. The measure on the ballot in Arizona and Oklahoma is modeled after legislation drafted by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. It says the states' citizens can't be forced to participate in a public or private health plan, can choose to pay a doctor directly for medical services and can't be forced to pay a fine for not having insurance." Missouri voted to adopt a similar measure during the primary. "Legal experts say the measures are just for show because states can't ignore federal law. But proponents say they send a clear message to politicians and give the states standing in challenging the new law in federal court" (Pecquet, 11/1).

Related, earlier KHN coverage: 3 States To Vote On Health Insurance Mandate (Miles, 10/30).

CNN: "There are 160 ballot measures going before voters in 37 states Tuesday. That's slightly more than the 2008 election, but down from 2006. … California is considering legalizing marijuana possession for personal use. Arizona, Oregon and South Dakota are considering various measures legalizing or loosening restrictions on marijuana use for medical purposes." Colorado has a measure that would "essentially ban abortion" by amending "the state constitution to define the term 'person' to include 'every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being'" (Yoon, 11/1).

WBUR CommonHealth blog: In Massachusetts, "the ballots in 14 districts will include non-binding questions on whether the state should move to a 'single-payer' system, also known as 'Medicare For All.' Jon Weissman, a spokesman for the single-payer campaign in western Massachusetts, says that 'it's one part of a strategy to put together a legislature that will vote for single-payer.' A single-payer bill has been introduced repeatedly in the legislature for more than a decade, he said, and has always gotten plenty of sponsors, but never passed" (Goldberg, 11/1).

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