Missouri voters reject key provision of health care law

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 | 10:00 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a key provision of President Barack Obama's health care law, sending a clear message of discontent to Washington and Democrats less than 100 days before the midterm elections.

With about 70 percent of the vote counted late Tuesday, nearly three-quarters of voters had supported the measure.

Tuesday's vote approving the ballot measure, known as Proposition C, was seen as largely symbolic because federal law generally trumps state law. But it was also seen as a sign of growing voter disillusionment with federal policies and a show of strength by conservatives and the tea party movement.

Legislatures in Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana and Virginia have passed similar statutes, and voters in Arizona and Oklahoma will vote on such measures as state constitutional amendments in November. But Missouri was the first state to challenge aspects of the law in a referendum.

Missouri's new law prohibits the government from requiring people to have health insurance or from penalizing them from paying for their own health care. That would conflict with a federal requirement that most people have health insurance or face penalties starting in 2014.

Federal courts are expected to weigh in well before the insurance provision takes effect about whether the federal health care overhaul is constitutional.

The intent of the federal requirement is to broaden the pool of healthy people covered by insurers, thus holding down premiums that otherwise would rise because of separate provisions prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to people with poor health or pre-existing conditions.

But the insurance requirement has been one of the most contentious parts of the new federal law. Public officials in well over a dozen states, including Missouri, have filed lawsuits claiming Congress overstepped its constitutional authority by requiring citizens to buy health insurance.

The Missouri Hospital Association spent $400,000 warning people that passage of the ballot measure could increase hospitals' costs for treating the uninsured, but there was little opposition to the measure from either grass-roots organizations or from the unions and consumer groups that backed the federal overhaul.


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Ryan Gavin August 3, 2010 | 10:47 p.m.

The people who passed this measure lose all credibility when discussing wasteful spending at the state level. What a joke.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance August 3, 2010 | 11:32 p.m.

Wow. A lot of people who voted guess probably thought this was a vote for the health care bill. What a huge waste of money. The confusion and wording of the prop will surely get it overturned in the courts. Thank you Republicans for cutting services to the poor and having this worthless vote.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 4, 2010 | 1:17 a.m.

("Tim Dance August 3, 2010 | 11:32 p.m.
Wow. A lot of people who voted guess probably thought this was a vote for the health care bill.")

If people guess the meaning of the Proposition, they probably:
1. Guess the meaning of the information in the many articles written about the proposition.
2. Were experiencing heat stroke.
3. Distracted by the roaring motorcycles coming into Missouri/Columbia.
4. Need to hone up on their English as a Second Language skills.

But seriously. The same thing happened to me when the Dems listed this Obama guy on the ballot and I failed to pay any attention to the dude. Here I thought I was voting for some Irishman. (Nothing like truth in advertising.)

Now for real. Proposition C was worded very clearly and there were many articles written about it with full disclosure on its content and intent. (Unlike the manner in which the media presented and spun Obama during the Presidential Election.)

Voters have THEIR responsibility to do some homework on what and who they are voting for. In this case, don't blame it on the wording of the Proposition.

(Report Comment)
Tina Fey August 4, 2010 | 5:47 a.m.

I love to hear liberal whiners complain about 'The People's' choice and lack of wisdom. Here, we Missourians are clearly telling Barry and Nancy Lou to stick it where the sun doesn't shine and baby crawl back to Chicago and San Francisco. You BOTH are ONE AND DONE in '12. In November, We The People will turn back the legislation of Dumbama and the Liberal Dips who have imposed their misguided will against the people and taken this broken country into unknown depths of despair. Good riddance. And would you like some Gouda cheese with that whine?

(Report Comment)
Daniel Jacobs August 4, 2010 | 10:53 a.m.

Regarding Tina Fey's comments, Missourians did nothing more than make yet another philosophically inconsistent and intellectually disingenious statement. With all this preaching about individual responsibility, why did conservatives not favor compelling citizens who can afford it to purchase health insurance from private companies to keep overall healthcare costs down? ERs and health centers are bound by law to treat anyone who comes in, regardless of their ability to pay. The tab is ultimately picked up by taxpayers and everyone who does pay for health insurance. It's no different than the legal obligation to buy car insurance if you want to share the roadway with your fellow citizens.

Ultimately, Federal law always takes precedent over state law, so this vote means nothing.

Regarding the one and done statement, there is a political party that created most of the major problems we face today, and it has steadfastly rejected any measures that might fix those problems. To reward them by returning them to majority status would be unproductive at best, catastrophic at worst, and just plain stupid in overview.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 4, 2010 | 10:57 a.m.

And here I thought the last paragraph of Daniel's statement was about the unsustainable future of Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.

(Report Comment)

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