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Ohio House Health and Aging Committee heard testimony yesterday on HJR 2

February 24, 2011 J

Ohio’s House Health and Aging Committee heard testimony yesterday on HJR 2. This resolution is virtually identical to that circulated by the Ohio Project and would place a constitutional amendment on the ballot this November to preserve the freedom of Ohioans to individually choose their health care and health insurance.

Ohio State Director Rebecca Heimlich testified before the committee today as a proponent of the Resolution. Her testimony is below.



Chairman Wachtmann and members of the House Health and Aging Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I am Rebecca Heimlich, Ohio State Director of Americans for Prosperity. Americans for Prosperity is a nationwide, free market, grassroots organization, with over 1.6 million members across the country.  In Ohio we have over 58,000 members.  We are non-profit and non-partisan. We educate and mobilize citizens as advocates for limited government, free markets, and fiscal responsibility in government.

In my testimony today, I’m going to focus on two topics: (1) the overwhelming grassroots opposition to ObamaCare that I’ve seen as I’ve travelled across Ohio, and (2) the devastating effect that ObamaCare will have on Ohio’s budget.

As Ohio State Director of Americans for Prosperity, I’ve travelled across Ohio talking with citizens about the government takeover of health care, the failed stimulus bill, cap and trade, the national debt, and many other policies and issues. In my experience there is no policy issue that grassroots, conservative Ohioans are more angry about than the government’s takeover of health care through ObamaCare.

In March of last year, AFP-OH had three Hands Off Our Health Care rallies: one in Columbus in what used to be Mary Jo Kilroy’s district; one in the greater Cincinnati area in what used to be Steve Driehaus’s district; and one in Marietta in what used to be Charlie Wilson’s districts. In all three areas, more people came out to our Hands Off Our Health Care rallies than to any other rallies in those areas during the rest of 2010.

In March of 2010, Americans for Prosperity started a nationwide project called November Is Coming. We had an online petition that allowed activists to tell their members of Congress that if you vote “yes” on the government takeover of healthcare, I’ll vote “no” on you in November. By 7:00pm the first day the petition was launched, we had 27,000 people sign. By the next day, over 100,000 people had signed.

In May when AFP did a Regulation Reality Tour across Ohio talking about the EPA’s regulation of carbon without a vote of Congress, an activist, or two, or three showed up at our stops with the Ohio Project’s Health Care Freedom Amendment petitions and collected signatures.

Last Fall I traveled across Ohio on two “Spending Revolt” bus tours with 18 stops in 15 of Ohio’s cities. Again, activists with the Ohio Project showed up at events to collect signatures, and I saw activists express their frustration and anger over the government’s takeover of health care.

Activists across Ohio last Fall distributed over 65,000 AFP door hangers educating voters that their member of Congress voted yes on government-run health care, which will cost taxpayers $1.2 trillion.

AFP did three November Is Coming bus tours across Ohio last Fall. We did 19 stops in 15 Ohio cities, and again had Ohio Project activists at our stops collecting signatures. On that bus tour, we provided petitions that citizens could sign telling their members of Congress that if you voted “yes” on big government programs like the government takeover of health care, I’ll remember in November. Voters did remember in November. They remembered that former Congress members Steve Driehaus, Mary Jo Kilroy, Charlie Wilson, and John Boccieri voted for the government takeover of health care. And, those members of Congress were voted out of office.

Still, at almost every event I do across Ohio someone asks me how we are going to end ObamaCare, and/or they give me a suggestion for what we can do to fight it. This is not an issue that is going away. People believe that in the United State of America, our government fundamentally should not be able to dictate that we purchase a product. People don’t want the government between them and their doctor. People are angry that under the government takeover of health care our health care system has been forever politicized. And people are angry that Congress passed a bill that drastically effects every U.S. citizen without even reading it.

Last year when Congress used every trick in the procedural book to pass the government takeover of health care, Congress did not listen to Ohioans and their immense opposition to the health care bill. Ohioans should have the opportunity to have their voices heard this Fall with their votes on the Health Care Freedom Amendment.

By approving this Amendment on this Fall’s ballot, Ohioans will be one step closer to defeating a federal law that will devastate Ohio’s already fragile budget. Ohio is facing an $8 billion budget deficit, and Americans for Prosperity-Ohio commends Governor Kasich for pledging to fix this budget hole without raising taxes. Once we take the tough steps necessary in Ohio to balance our budget without raising taxes, ObamaCare will impose more financial burdens on Ohio’s budget.

A recent report by the Heritage Foundation points out that when Medicaid is expanded under ObamaCare in 2014 to cover more people, federal matching rates will not be increased to cover increased administrative costs.1 “Thus, states are on the hook to pay these added administrative costs beginning on day one of the Medicaid expansion and, even sooner, must shoulder much of the financial burden generated by any work they perform in preparation for the added caseload anticipated in 2014.”2

According to the report, starting in 2017, states will also be expected to cover a progressively larger portion of the cost of the expanded Medicaid coverage.3 Ohio is struggling to cover its current Medicaid burden, and cannot afford the even larger burden under ObamaCare.

Passing the HJR 2 and ultimately the Health Care Freedom Amendment is one of the main policy goals of Americans for Prosperity’s project called “Ohio 180° – Turning around Ohio today.” Ohio 180° is a grassroots effort aimed at making sure Ohio takes the tough steps necessary in 2011 to balance Ohio’s budget without raising taxes and to get us back on the track to prosperity.

Thank you again for this opportunity to testify.

1 The Heritage Foundation, “How Obamacare Burdens Already Strained State Budgets,” (Nov. 10, 2010)
2 The Heritage Foundation, “How Obamacare Burdens Already Strained State Budgets,” (Nov. 10, 2010
)3 The Heritage Foundation, “How Obamacare Burdens Already Strained State Budgets,” (Nov. 10, 2010)

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