The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act

September 8, 2012

Health, Political

Attempts to put complete control over all healthcare delivery into the hands of an appointed state-run bureaucracy means patients would not even be able to pay out of their own pockets if they wished to.

by Mary Budinger — 

Election campaigns include efforts to fix our healthcare system. In Arizona, orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Eric Novack, is spearheading an initiative to safeguard consumer options in the state constitution.

Novack sees momentum building to create a government-run healthcare system that will not be accountable to patients, but instead will cater to the largest special interests that dominate the healthcare arena. The initiative, called The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act, is designed to keep that from becoming a reality in Arizona.

“We do not want unaccountable bureaucrats deciding what health care we can receive, determining whether we can get a second opinion or choosing whether we can have alternative therapies,” Novack says.

Attempts to put complete control over all healthcare delivery into the hands of an appointed state-run bureaucracy means patients would not even be able to pay out of their own pockets if they wished to.

The initiative proposes a simple two-sentence amendment to the state constitution that says, “No law shall be passed that restricts a person’s freedom of choice of private healthcare systems or private plans of any type. No law shall interfere with a person’s or entity’s right to pay directly for lawful medical services, nor shall any law impose a penalty or fine, of any type, for choosing to obtain or decline healthcare coverage or for participation in any particular healthcare system or plan.”

Novack says that because there are so many special interests competing for our healthcare dollars, he and others feel strongly that the cornerstone of healthcare reform must be the preservation and protection of the right for patients to be in control of their healthcare choices, and that this right must be protected by our state constitution. Some 330,000 people who signed the petition to qualify the initiative for the ballot agreed.

“Proposals abound that would give control to entities more interested in getting paid than giving good health care,” said Linda Heming, a Sun City, Ariz., patient who fought to preserve the Arizona Homeopathic Medical Board. “And the ugly issue of denying care to particular patients with specific problems — looms large.”

Whether it is chemotherapy for cancer, or options for treating infection, standard-of-care treatments are often devised, tested and controlled by groups interested in directing the flow of healthcare dollars. “Too many special interest groups find it profitable when people are sick,” said Jean Gilek, a patient who signed the petition. “There is too much pressure upon elected officials to funnel our healthcare dollars into the pockets of special interest groups. Our basic right to choose is coming under attack by commercial interests and must be protected.”

The initiative’s proponents fully expect the Secretary of State’s office to certify the signatures and that the initiative will be on the upcoming November ballot.

[The Arizona Secretary of State’s office announced on August 7, 2008, that the measure lacks the minimum number of signatures to qualify for the November ballot and the sponsors are challenging that decision.]

 

Mary Budinger is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She is a freelance writer and researcher about and for alternative medicine. 602-494-1999.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 4, August/September 2008.

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