Court ruling keeps kidney dialysis amendment off the ballot this fall

Ohio Statehouse Newsroom

A proposed amendment to the Ohio constitution could have capped the cost of kidney dialysis and put in place other requirements, but it won’t be on the ballot this fall as supporters had hoped.

It all comes down to strictly following the rules. According to the Ohio Supreme Court, there was an error in filing forms is causing the entire effort to be thrown out.

Not only would the amendment have capped the cost of dialysis, but it would’ve required annual inspections of clinics and hit companies that overcharge patients with stiff penalties.

As such, the people of Ohio will have to wait to vote on whether that is something they agree with.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that because managers did not file forms before they were paid to supervise signature collection, none of the petitions gathered will count.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199, which covers health care and social service employees in Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky, was backing the measure and hired a company from California to collect the needed signatures. They have released this statement:

It [sic] shameful that the Ohio Supreme Court relied on what even the justices acknowledge is a technicality to stop millions of Ohioans from voting on a critical issue affecting tens of thousands of people who need dialysis to stay alive. Those patients will now be denied this chance for improved conditions and better, more sanitary care in the clinics, which this initiative would have produced.

Opponents of the ballot initiative the Ohio Renal Association have also released a statement:

This reckless proposal was written by California outsiders who know nothing about dialysis care in Ohio. The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that the petitioners didn’t follow the law in their $4 million paid petition drive. The court challenge filed by the Ohio Renal Association was a prudent course of action given the potential harm this proposal could bring to Ohio’s 18,000 dialysis patients.

A total of 305,591 verified petitions were needed to put an issue on the November ballot and they were due by July 4.

The group turned in more than 475,000 signatures, but not all of them came back verified and after the final accounting was done they were 9,511 signatures short.

They then went into a short cure period where they were allowed to turn in more signatures.

Those signatures were in the process of being verified when the court ruled on the lawsuit brought against the entire measure by the Ohio Renal Association.

Because the court threw out all of the original signatures, there is no way it can be put on the ballot this fall.

Supporters of the amendment will now have to start over from the beginning if they hope to get it on a ballot in 2019.
 

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