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States Still Tallying Health Care Reform Measures

November 6, 2008
Related Topics: Miscellaneous Legal Issues, Medical Benefits Law, Health and Wellness, Latest News

Several states addressed health reform and gay marriage during Tuesday's election, though the outcomes of several of those ballot initiatives are still unknown.

The outcome of a ballot measure in Arizona that targeted any health reform proposals that would have included either individual or employer mandates was still undecided as of noon Wednesday, November 5, as election officials tallied the results.

If passed, Arizona’s Proposition 101 would prohibit the passage of any law restricting an individual’s or entity’s freedom of choice of private health care systems or private health plans of any type.

Meanwhile, a measure instructing the Wisconsin Legislature to enact health reforms ensuring universal coverage appeared to be winning in the 22 cities and counties where it had been placed on the ballot. Results were still being tallied Wednesday morning.

Voters in Milwaukee on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved requiring private employers to pay for sick days for all workers in Wisconsin’s largest city. The referendum, sought by a coalition of union and community groups, gives full-time workers five to nine sick days a year, depending on the size of their employer.

The cities of San Francisco and Washington previously passed similar measures.

South Carolina voters decided Tuesday not to risk retired public employees’ health benefits in the stock market, defeating two proposed ballot measures that would have allowed such investments by the state and local governments to pay for future retirees’ health care and other post-retirement benefits. Most other states allow the funds to be invested in stocks.

An amendment to California’s state constitution recognizing marriage as a union between a man and a woman narrowly passed, overriding a ruling by the California Supreme Court in May.

While not conceding defeat, opponents of the ballot measure that would end same-sex marriage in California filed a petition with the California Supreme Court to invalidate the proposed constitutional amendment.

The petition charges that Proposition 8 is invalid because the initiative process was improperly used in an attempt to undo the state constitution’s core commitment to equality for everyone.

Voters in Florida and Arizona passed gay marriage bans during Tuesday’s elections.

North Dakota voters approved a measure putting the governor in charge of appointing the director of the Workforce Safety and Insurance Agency, which administers and oversees the state’s workers’ compensation program for injured workers. Currently, a board of directors appoints and oversees the agency’s top manager. The ballot measure also restores state civil service protection to the agency’s employees and establishes an independent administrative panel of law judges to conduct hearings and make final decisions.

In Montana, voters overwhelmingly approved a measure expanding health care coverage for children under the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program by raising the income threshold for families to become eligible to $55,000 a year.

Filed by Joanne Wojcik of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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