The news out of Missouri--the archetypal swing state--is not good for the Democrats or for President Obama. In Tuesday’s primary election nearly three-quarters of all those casting ballots registered their opposition to the federal mandate that all citizens buy health insurance that is a key component of the Obama healthcare plan.
Proposition C--the Missouri Health Care Freedom Act--passed with 71 percent of the vote. The measure, which was referred to the ballot by the state legislature, amends current law to deny the government the authority to "penalize citizens for refusing to purchase private health insurance or infringe upon the right to offer or accept direct payment for lawful healthcare services."
It’s a stunning rebuke for Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who view the recently passed changes to the U.S. healthcare system as the signature accomplishment of the president’s first two years in office. [See who supports Pelosi.]
Republican leaders wasted no time in proclaiming the results of the election as a ratification of their opposition to Obamacare. House Minority Leader John Boehner, in a statement released Wednesday, called the results a loud and clear signal that America is rejecting Obamacare.
“There is one constant in the story of Obamacare: the steadfast opposition of the American people to out-of-touch Washington Democrats’ plan,” Boehner said. “How long will Washington Democrats ignore the will of the American people? What will it take for them to work with Republicans to repeal Obamacare and replace it with commonsense reforms to lower costs?”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell likewise weighed in on the results.
“All throughout the healthcare debate, Democrat leaders in Washington told themselves they could do what they want, and then persuade Americans after the fact that it was okay,” the Kentucky Republicans said in a statement. “Last night, the voters in Missouri overwhelmingly rejected that notion. The people of Missouri have sent a message to Washington: enough is enough.”
The vote represents the rejection, as McConnell sees it, “of the apparent belief by the current administration and Democrat leaders in Congress that they know best--that distant bureaucrats and lawmakers inside the Beltway have a better grasp of what ails people in places like St. Louis than they do, and that lawmakers here have a right to impose their prescriptions on the people out there whether those people like it or not.”
The Missouri initiative is the first of four anti-mandate efforts that will be on the ballot this year. These initiatives, along with the actions of a handful of state legislatures, are an effort to derail the individual insurance purchasing mandate without which the Obamacare plan falls apart.