Health Reform Politics: Florida Court On Ballot Question; Repeal Campaign Touted By Conservatives; Nebraska Flap

Health News Florida: "The Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that targeted the new federal-health reform law, ruling that state lawmakers included misleading wording that could not be fixed. Justices, in a 5-2 ruling, upheld a circuit judge's decision to strip 'Amendment 9' from the November ballot. ... In part, the proposal called for Floridians to not be forced by law to 'participate in any health-care system''' (Saunders, 9/1)

The Christian Science Monitor:  "The action is a victory for supporters of the Obama health reform program and a setback for opponents, including state lawyers leading an effort in federal court in the Florida panhandle to have the national health insurance program declared unconstitutional. Florida was slated to be one of four states voting in November on constitutional amendments barring forced participation in a health insurance program. The three remaining states are Arizona, Oklahoma, and Colorado." Missouri already posed the same question to voters on the mandate to purchase health insurance. That question in that state passed (Richey, 8/31).

Kaiser Health News: In the meantime, efforts in Washington to repeal the health law are growing, with a leading proponent of repeal, Heritage Action for America, leading the charge. The group has 170 Republican lawmaker signatures on a discharge petition to bring the legislation to the floor; it needs 218 to force a vote. The group's leader, Mike Needham, said he's confident the group can get the votes to force a repeal vote, even if it takes four years. "Our discharge petition has [170] Republicans that have signed it. No Democrats have signed it yet. So clearly, the Republican Party is more in tune with the American people right now on this issue than the Democratic Party, which seems to be avoiding the conversation," Needham said (Villegas, 9/1).

The Hill: Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., "lashed out at Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman after the Republican lawmaker urged state educators to back a repeal of healthcare reform — or risk losing their jobs." The governor last week "sent a letter to state education groups warning that the Medicaid expansion under the Democrats' healthcare reform law would steal vital funding from state education programs, thereby threatening education jobs" (Lillis, 8/31).

The Hill, in a separate story: Another Democrat, Rep. Frank Kratovil of Maryland, is separating himself from his party's leaders in an attempt to be re-elected in November. In an ad, "Kratovil says he makes decisions based on 'facts not politics,' which is why he 'voted against the three trillion dollar budget, the big bank bailout and against the healthcare bill.'" Some other Democrats are employing a similar tactic (D'Aprile, 8/31).

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