‘Health Care Freedom’ vote falls short

ATLANTA – A proposed amendment to the state constitution that proponents say would have protected Georgians from federal regulations requiring that they purchase a healthcare plan against their will or facing punishment if they refused has failed.

While all 34 Republicans in the state Senate supported the measure on Wednesday, none of the Senate’s 19 Democrats did, and the proposal (SR 794) did not garner the 2/3 majority needed to proceed. Had the General Assembly approved the legislation, voters statewide would have voted on the amendment.

The “Health Care Freedom of Choice Constitutional Amendment” was modeled on the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act. Fourteen other states – including Alabama, Ohio and South Carolina – have filed similar legislation, proponents previously said.

“(The) Georgia Senate had the chance to give Georgians the opportunity to decide how best to protect their freedoms and liberties with their healthcare,” state Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta, said in a news release. “It is widely understood that state Constitutions may afford its residents greater liberties than the U.S. Constitution allows as our national policy should provide a floor, not a ceiling, for the rights of its citizens.

“I am disappointed my Democratic colleagues in the Senate chose not to let Georgia’s citizens vote in November to preserve their existing rights they have regarding their healthcare,” Hill added.

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