A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Health Care Rally

Nationalized health care's rough journey through Congress ended Sunday.

Wendy Day of Common Sense in Government and other allied opponents of the federal plan will help fire Michigan's first counterpunch today when they announce a citizen petition drive that they hope will halt the proposal in its tracks.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved President Barack Obama's health care legislation Sunday night, which among other things will mandate that nearly every American purchase health care.

The response in Michigan will be to try to amend the state constitution so that it prohibits a federal law from compelling any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system, and prevents anyone from being penalized for ignoring the federal law.

Activists in numerous states are preparing similar measures. In Arizona, it has already been cleared to appear on the November general election ballot.

To accomplish this in Michigan, Day and her allies will need to get the valid signatures of 390,000 voters approved by July 5. This will allow their proposed amendment to be submitted to voters at the November 2010 general election.  

Day said the ballot language will be similar to what was in a constitutional amendment resolution that was sponsored by Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, and was voted on by the Michigan Senate last week. The Legislature, with a two-thirds approval in each chamber, may submit proposed constitutional amendments to the voters.

Kuipers' proposal failed to secure the needed super-majority in the Senate.

"If ever there was a time a thing like this could succeed, it is now," Day said of the decision to turn to the signature gathering option.

TEA party activists from around the state sounded off about Sunday's vote.

"I'm flabbergasted," said Tina Dupont of Rockford, a founder of the TEA Party of West Michigan. "I can't believe our country has come to this. It's a huge call to action. ... I think November will be a huge surprise. Our side will be totally motivated to go out and vote."

"I'm heart-sick over this federal power grab," said Glenn Clark of Troy, a TEA party organizer who is also the chairman of the Republican Party's 9th Congressional District.

Clark said he will target U.S. Congressman Gary Peters, a Democrat from the 9th Congressional District.

"I'm making it my mission to take him down," Clark said. "Gary Peters is going to be gone in November. Period. We are going to organize in every swing precinct, and we are going to go door-knocking. ... We are going to turn those voters into an anti-Peters tidal wave. ... I'm not going to sleep any night between now and November without thinking, 'What am I going to do the next day to take Gary Peters down?'"

Lansing's Joan Fabiano of Grassroots in Michigan called the political process used to pass the president's proposal "an abomination."

"This is the beginning," Fabiano said. "We haven't begun to fight. People will be outraged. The movement for limited government will only grow."

Earlier Sunday, about 240 protesters showed up in front of the state Capitol for a rally against the federal proposal.

GOP State Rep. Paul Opsommer attended and handed out copies of his House Joint Resolution YY. It would create a commission to examine the constitutionality of some federal requirements.

Many protesters in Lansing were looking for a way to turn back Sunday's vote in Washington.

Mary Martin of Union drove two and a half hours to get to the rally.

She said she was hoping there would be some state legislation that could trump the federal health care bill.

"We want Michigan to be the next state to uphold the 10th Amendment," Martin said. The 10th Amendment states that powers not specifically granted to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution are state issues.

Others couldn't just sit idle.

"I feel the need to participate and do something," said Kathryn Fashoway of Fraser who wore a button that read: "I am a conservative not a mobster." "People are angry. I am angry."

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