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Medical initiative remains undecided

Measure would ban universal health plan

Proposition 101, the ballot initiative that would block the adoption of any government-run universal health plan for Arizona, was still too close to call on Wednesday.

Opponents are clinging to a narrow lead, with 50.1 percent voting against the measure.

Ballots from Maricopa and Pima counties have yet to be tallied, including early ballots that were turned in at polling places on Election Day.

“Obviously, we’re anxious,” said Dr. Eric Novack, chairman of Medical Choice for Arizona, the group that backed Proposition 101. “We are hopeful and optimistic that as the ballots in Maricopa County come in, they will turn in our favor.”

As of Wednesday evening, there were 2,195 more “no” votes among more than 1.7 million ballots counted. The latest tally showed 865,729 voted “yes” and 867,924 voted “no.”

The initiative has drawn nationwide attention with conservatives hailing the measure as a way to protect consumers’ health-care rights and block attempts to pass a Canadian-style universal health-care system in Arizona. Supporters include U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl and Rep. John Shadegg, both Republicans.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gov. Janet Napolitano, the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, the Arizona Academy of Family Physicians and others campaigned against the initiative.

Proposition 101 would effectively counter a bill floated by Arizona Rep. Phil Lopes, D-Tucson, who proposed a single-payer health-care system that would guarantee coverage for all Arizonans. Some have suggested that the initiative also could provide a legal basis to challenge any federal health plan.

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