In a year in which numerous state ballot initiatives have been criticized as deceptive, at least one measure--Proposition 101, the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act--is exactly what it purports to be: a constitutional insurance policy against socialized medicine.
The initiative forbids the state from limiting health insurance choices or forcing people to join an insurance plan, and guarantees the right of people to pay directly for lawful medical services. It changes nothing about current health care policies or practices, but would prevent future coercive schemes.
But opponents have resorted to brazen mistruths. Bearing a photo of Gov. Janet Napolitano and "with major funding from the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and University Physicians Healthcare," an opposition mailer and website raise objections that have no factual grounding, contending that the initiative:
"Makes health insurance so expensive, employers will be unable to provide coverage for their employees." This is absolutely false. In fact, the initiative does not affect the cost of insurance coverage at all, and by preserving competition it should reduce future cost increases.
"Jeopardizes Arizona's Medicare and Medicaid programs." That assertion is based on a legal opinion procured with taxpayer dollars by the state's Medicaid program that found if a court distorted the initiative's language and intent, it "might" affect that program. That assertion has been thoroughly discredited by the distinguished law firm Snell & Wilmer and others.
"Will increase health care costs to Arizona taxpayers by $2 billion." That number is picked out of thin air. The actual cost is zero, though if the initiative forestalls a government-run health insurance system, it likely will save billions of taxpayer dollars.
The businesses that are using false arguments to oppose Prop. 101 surely deserve whatever mandates may come their way if socialized medicine becomes a reality. The rest of us, however, face a struggle to preserve freedom over our health care decisions--freedom that Prop. 101 would protect.
Clint Bolick is the director of the Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation.
Ballotpedia: Prop 101
YouTube: Arguments for Proposition 101