The healthcare reform debate continues at the state level.
This time you have a say in it.
Required healthcare is what you'll be voting on in November.
Healthcare reform has been overwhelming for many Americans and with all the possible changes citizens could face, state Senator Dan Newberry wants you to have choices and says that's what's behind a state question.
"By making a constitutional amendment it basically says you cannot tax, fine or impact otherwise for not buying health insurance and protecting doctors ability to accept funds if they're not through the insurance system. We feel like we're protecting the rights of Oklahomans," said Newberry, (R)-Tulsa.
If passed the question would prohibit making a person or employer participate in a healthcare system, but state Senator Tom Adelson says we're already practicing a health care system that pays for everyone.
"To me the real question is, why should people be free to use healthcare and then not pay for it? In Oklahoma, the cost of uncompensated care increase the cost of family health coverage, a family of four by $2,911," said Adelson, (D)-Tulsa.
It's one reason Adelson says a fix is necessary. He believes the federal systems we already have in place are working and healthcare reform would only add to that.
"We do have the Canadian system in the United States today. We've had it for 50 years. It's called Medicare, and it works pretty well," said Adelson.
While Newberry agrees that improvements can be made to the system, he says mandating something is going to far.
"I don't believe the federal government should and I don't believe we as a state should require people to purchase an item," said Newberry.
So can state law overrule federal law? Reading through the state question it even says the measure cannot affect or negate all federal laws or rules, but Newberry says that's up for debate.
"The federal government only has the rights to do what the states allow them to do so we have to give them the power to execute authority over certain areas," said Newberry.
But Adelson calls that argument absurd saying there's nothing in the Constitution that specifically says Congress has the authority to enact Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid funding but all the while, those programs are in place across the country. Plus, he says providing health care is the right thing to do.
"It's the humanitarian thing to do. People who are sick, primarily children and people between the ages of 19 and 64, are not getting the coverage that they need," said Adelson.
It's a debate that will continue all the way to the ballot box.
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