- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 16, 2011

With the Supreme Court’s announcement Monday that it will hear challenges to the government’s takeover of health care, the American people should take note of a consequential vote that took place in Ohio last Tuesday - the overwhelming and bipartisan rebuke of Obamacare.

Many Americans may be unaware that the same mix of Ohioans that rejected collective bargaining reform last Tuesday also voted, by a 66 percent majority, for a state constitutional amendment to prevent the implementation of President Obama’s health care law in Ohio.

Interestingly, while the health care freedom campaign relied largely on grass-roots efforts, it was approved by a wider margin than the share of votes by which the highly-funded collective bargaining issue was rejected. It’s tough to argue with the fact that more than 2.2 million Ohioans joined the grassroots campaign to reject President Obama’s health care takeover, while a lower number turned out against the more publicized collective bargaining reform.

This is the under-told story from the recent election in Ohio: Washington-run health care was rejected in each of Ohio’s 88 counties, with more than half of the counties passing the measure by more than 68 percent of the vote. Regardless of ideology, geography and their position on the collective bargaining bill, Ohio voters across party lines and from all walks of life united to reject Washington’s attempt to seize even more control over families’ health care decisions.

Even more powerful a statistic within this story is the likelihood that more than a million Democrats, independents and union members who pulled the lever last Tuesday to vote against collective bargaining reform, also voted to ban Mr. Obama’s health care takeover from taking effect in Ohio.

This resounding health care freedom victory, in a state that serves as America’s bellwether, sends an ominous signal to Mr. Obama and his most steadfast Ohio cheerleader, Sen. Sherrod Brown, who cast the deciding 60th vote to impose government-mandated health care on the American people.

Two out of three Ohioans have now stood up and called Mr. Brown’s deciding vote the wrong choice for Americans, who want more liberty and less expense in their health care choices. Ohioans voted this way because they do not want a Washington bureaucrat between them and their doctor when it comes to making crucial, personal health care decisions.

This issue began when Mr. Obama and allies like Mr. Brown forced the health care takeover bill through Congress against the will of the people. The arrogance they displayed in forcing a one-size-fits-all program on Americans was in direct conflict with the fundamental American principle of individual liberty.

Less freedom, rationed care, higher costs and fewer jobs is what motivated Ohioans to speak loud and clear against Obamacare last week. Voters know that it will hurt their ability to pay for health care by reducing the number of available jobs and increasing the cost of health care at existing jobs.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) recently released a report that finds that just one of the many taxes included in the health care law could cost millions of small-business owners and employees up to $5,000 per family policy. The NFIB estimated that this tax alone will likely cost the American economy from 125,000 to 249,000 jobs between now and 2021.

Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that the government takeover of health care would create 4 million jobs, 400,000 of which would appear almost immediately. Ohioans are still waiting.

It should not be lost on the American people or Mr. Brown who championed Obamacare, that amending the Ohio Constitution is an extraordinary procedure that Ohioans rarely use. Although passage of the Ohio constitutional amendment will not in itself make Mr. Obama’s health care law unconstitutional, it should send a clear message to Washington that a majority of Americans - and 66 percent here in the bellwether heartland - reject the 2,700 page law.

We must not overlook the truly significant blow that Ohioans dealt Obamacare last week, with a mix of 2.2 million Democrats, Republicans and Independents rejecting this intrusion on individual liberty and family control over health care decisions. With Ohioans sending an undeniable message of disapproval, it remains to be seen whether Sherrod Brown and others who rested their reputations on the passage of Obamacare will listen to those they represent or continue to choose ultra-liberal ideology over the will of the people.

Josh Mandel is treasurer of Ohio and Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.

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