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The Associated Press May 26, 2010, 11:08AM ET

Oklahoma voters to decide federal health mandate

Oklahoma voters will decide whether to change the state Constitution and opt out of a federal health care mandate requiring them to purchase health insurance policies.

A measure that received final passage in the state Senate Tuesday will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot. If approved, it will prohibit penalties for failure to purchase insurance and allow doctors to continue to accept direct payment.

The bill's House author, Rep. Mike Thompson of Oklahoma City, says a constitutional amendment will help protect Oklahomans from the government's attempt to insert itself into their lives. He says the federal health care overhaul will only make health insurance more expensive.

The constitutional amendment bypasses the governor, who recently vetoed a statutory change to block the federal health care mandate.

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