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Ballot measure seeks to solidify right to private health care

Arizona voters will be asked to reconsider a ballot measure that would prevent residents from being compelled to join a government-run health care system and guarantees the right to purchase private health insurance.

On June 22, the Senate voted 18-11 to pass HCR2014, which will appear on the ballot in 2010.

“HCR2014 is proactive and will protect patients’ fundamental rights,” Rep. Nancy Barto, a Republican from Phoenix, stated in a press release after the vote. “We are a front-line battle state to stop the momentum of this powerful government takeover of your health care decisions.”

A similar measure, Proposition 101, was rejected narrowly by voters in November – 1,057,199 voted against it, and 1,048,512 voted for it.

Barto, the sponsor of HCR2014, said she expects voters to approve the measure the second time around because of language changes that resolve many of the complaints against last year’s ballot measure.

Even if the measure passes, it’s unclear whether it would provide any real protection from federal mandates. The supremacy clause, a constitutional principle that guarantees that federal law trumps state law when the two are in conflict, may require Arizona residents to participate in any national health care reform measures.

Barto has said the ballot measure, if it passes, is likely to be challenged in court.

“We are getting ready for that possibility,” she said. “But there is a history of state laws being held above federal laws.”

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