Monday, January 21, 2013

Wide mix of health care measures featured on us election ballots

It's often said there's a world of difference between America's states and no more concrete proof of that proposition exists than the outcomes of a host of health-related ballot measures in the Nov. 6 United States general election.

Voters in various states were asked for their opinion on issues ranging from euthanasia to abortion, legalizing marijuana (for medical or recreational use), mandatory health insurance, home care, smoking and the labelling of genetically modified foods.

Although the final outcome of several measures is still undecided and won't be for days or weeks to come until the ballot counting procedures are complete, the fate of many health-related initiatives has already been sealed. In Louisiana, for instance, 70% of voters supported an amendment to protect Medicaid funding from budget cuts. In Montana, 71% of voters checked "yes" on a referendum requiring parental notification for minors receiving abortions. Other measures receiving strong support in some jurisdictions include prohibiting mandatory health insurance (Wyoming), introducing a smoking ban in public places and workplaces (North Dakota) and legalizing medical marijuana (Massachusetts).

Marijuana measures were popular, appearing on ballots in Colorado, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Montana and Oregon. Both Colorado and Washington voted to legalize the recreational use of the drug, with each state about 55% in favour. Massachusetts approved an initiative to legalize medical marijuana, while Montana voted to enact a new medical marijuana program. But the results were negative in Arkansas (for legalizing medical marijuana) and in Oregon (for regulating growth and sale of cannabis).

Another popular measure--appearing on ballots in Florida, Montana, Wyoming and Alabama--was to prohibit mandatory health insurance, as set out in US President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. Only Florida voted down the measure (barely, at 51%), while the other three states overwhelmingly supported it.

Other binding health-related measures included:

Massachusetts: Voted for (63%) Initiative Question 3 to allow the medicinal use of marijuana (www.compassionfor -law-for-the-humanitarian-medical-use -of-marijuana/) but against (51%) Initiative Question 2 to allow terminally ill adults with six or fewer months to live to receive life-ending medication from their doctors ( /default.asp?c=525&p=1753) according to state election results (www.masslive .com/politics/results/#ballot2).

California: Voted against (53%) Proposition 34 to repeal the death penalty ( /propositions/34/) and against (53%) Proposition 37 to mandate special labels for genetically modified foods (http ://, according to state results (http://vote

Arkansas: Voted against (51%) Issue 5 to legalize medical marijuana (www /2012%20Proposed%20Initiatives%20and %20Referenda/Marijuana%20Proposal %20Text%20for%20web.pdf), according to state results (http://results.enr /en/summary.html).

Florida: Voted against (51%) Amendment 1 to prohibit the government from requiring individuals to purchase health insurance (http://collins /09/Collins-Center-Amendment-1.pdf) and against (55%) Amendment 6 to prohibit use of public funds for abortions except to save mother's life (http://collins /09/Collins-Center-Amendment-6.pdf), according to state results (http://enight /Amendment.aspx).

Louisiana: Voted for (71%) Amendment 1 to protect state Medicaid trust fund from budget cuts ( .gov/billdata/streamdocument.asp?did =812574), according to state results (! 1062012 /11062012_Statewide.html).

Michigan: Voted against (56%) Proposal 4 to allow home care workers to bargain collectively, create a registry of workers with passed background checks, provide training for home care workers and "provide financial services to patients to manage the cost of in-home care" ( /sos/Citizens_for_Affordable_Quality _Home_Care_396204_7.pdf), according to state results (http://miboecfr.nictusa .com/election/results/12GEN/900000 04.html).

Montana: Voted for (57%) Initiative Referendum No. 124 to enact a new medical marijuana program, including "establishing specific standards for demonstrating chronic pain; and reviewing the practices of doctors who certify marijuana use for 25 or more patients in a 12-month period" ( /2010s/2012/Initiatives/IR-124.asp), for (71%) Legislative Referendum No. 120 requiring parental notification prior to the provision of abortion for a minor (http://sos. /2012/BallotIssues/LR-120.pdf), and for (67%) Legislative Referendum No. 122 to prohibit state or federal government from mandating purchase of health insurance ( /Elections/2012/BallotIssues/LR-122 .pdf), according to state results (http :// .aspx?type=BQ&map=CTY).

North Dakota: Voted for (67%) Measure 4 to ban smoking in public places and most workplaces, including some outdoor spaces (https://vip.sos Measure4-Smoking-Nov6,2012.pdf), according to state results (http://results &type=SW&map=CTY).

Oregon: Voted for (58%) Measure 77 to allow the governor to declare states of emergency and thereafter, to use lottery monies and other revenues to provide aid to victims (www .dir /hjr0007.en.pdf), but against (55%) Measure 80 to create a commission to regulate the growing and sale of cannabis, according to state results (http://oregon .html).

Wyoming: Voted in favour (77%) of Constitutional Amendment A to prohibit government from forcing people to buy health insurance (http://soswy BallotIssues.pdf), according to state results ( /Docs/2012/Results/General/2012_State wide_Constitutional_Amendments.pdf).

Alabama: Voted in favour (59%) of Amendment 6, which would prohibit individuals and business from being compelled to participate in the health care system ( .us/acas/ACTIONViewFrameMac.asp ?TYPE=Instrument&INST=HB60&DOC PATH=searchableinstruments/2011RS /Printfiles/&PHYDOCPATH=//alisondb /acas/searchableinstruments/2011RS/Print Files/&DOCNAMES=HB 60-int.pdf), according to state results (www.alabama

Washington: Voted in favour (55%) of Initiative Measure No. 502 to legalize recreational use of marijuana (http://sos .pdf), according to state results (http :// -Measure-No-502-Concerns-marijuana .html).

Colorado: Voted in favour (55%) of Amendment 64 to legalize recreation use of marijuana ( .us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/titleBoard /filings/2011-2012/30Final.pdf), according to state results (http://results.enr /en/summary.html).

Among other ballot measures that failed was one in North Dakota that would have compelled felony charges against "any individual who maliciously and intentionally burns, poisons, crushes, suffocates, impales, drowns, blinds, skins, beats to death, drags to death, exsanguinates, disembowels, or dismembers any living dog, cat, or horse" ( TextofMeasure5-AnimalCruelty-Nov6 ,2012.pdf).--Roger Collier, CMAJ

Source Citation (MLA 7th Edition)
Collier, Roger. "Wide mix of health care measures featured on us election ballots." CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal 11 Dec. 2012: E952+. Health Reference Center Academic. Web. 21 Jan. 2013.
Document URL

Gale Document Number: GALE|A312015097

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