Ohio voters reject health insurance mandate

Voters in Ohio approved a measure Tuesday night disapproving of President Obama’s healthcare law.

Ohioans passed an amendment to the state constitution that says Ohio residents cannot be forced to buy health insurance. The amendment, however, will likely do very little to prevent Ohio residents from being forced to buy health insurance.

The U.S. Supreme Court will meet in a closed session this week to debate whether it should hear a challenge to the federal healthcare law’s individual mandate. If the court ultimately strikes down the coverage mandate, Ohio’s amendment — and the smattering of other state laws disapproving of the mandate — would become moot. If the court upholds the mandate, it would preempt state laws.

Nevertheless, Ohio initiative is another sign of how just unpopular the mandate is. Democrats — and labor, a key ally of Obama’s during the healthcare debate turned out heavily in Ohio for a separate ballot question on collective bargaining. But even with strong turnout around a traditionally Democratic issue, 66 percent of voters had supported the anti-mandate initiative at the time the Associated Press called the vote.