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Election Day highlights three votes on health insurance mandate Posted: November 2nd, 2010

By Maryalene LaPonsie

One of the most controversial aspects of health reform legislation, passed earlier this year, has been the individual health insurance mandate. Under provisions of the reform law, all legal residents must maintain health insurance by 2014 or face fines. Led by the Tea Party movement, many argue that the mandate is an unconstitutional extension of federal power.

While the battle over the health insurance mandate is being fought in courthouses and state legislatures across the country, three states are bringing the issue to their voters. The 2010 general election ballot in Arizona, Oklahoma and Colorado feature proposals that allow residents to reject the idea of the individual mandate.

The proposals being presented in Arizona and Oklahoma are modeled after legislation drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act promises protection from penalties for citizens who do not purchase health insurance as required by the federal mandate. Meanwhile, the Colorado proposal only rejects the possibility of the state government creating its own mandate.

Supporters of the proposals say their passage will send a clear message to Washington that voters are tired of government intrusion in their households. However, opponents of the proposals argue that they are largely symbolic and will have no legal affect on the federal mandate.