State Reps Andy Thompson and Ron Young introduced a bill today (HB 91) called the “Health Care Freedom Act” that would effectively prevent any insurance company from operating in Ohio if that company chooses to participate in Ohio’s Affordable Care Act (ACA)-mandated insurance exchange.

The bill bans any insurance company from operating in Ohio if that company would get tax credits or cost-sharing reductions for insurance buyers who used the exchange because their employers didn’t offer coverage.

During a press conference today, Thompson claimed the purpose of the bill is to “reinforce the freedom of all Ohioans to choose their own health care”.    In reality, it LIMITS the options Ohioans have by banning insurance companies from operating in the state should they choose to participate in the health care exchange.

Federal law is clear: starting in 2014, most Ohioans will be required to buy health insurance.  And for many, the health care exchange will be their best and most affordable option. Under this law, that option would be taken away.

Equally as disturbing, this bill is horribly anti-business. The health care exchange will provide a large pool of new business for health insurance companies.  This bill tell companies: if you choose to pursue this wonderful new opportunity to grow your business by enrolling customers from our insurance exchange, we will bar you from doing ANY business in Ohio.

The goal is clear:  to prevent any insurance company from offering coverage through Ohio’s ACA insurance exchange thereby preventing any Ohioan from buying insurance from the exchange.

I think Young and Thomson need to take a second look at a dictionary…

Websters defines Freedom as “the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action”.

In fact this bill does the exact opposite:  coercing companies into business practices that constrain their options and the options of all Ohioans.

Ohio Capital Blog has the full video of the presser here.