Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a federal mandate to purchase health insurance, rebuking President Barack Obama’s administration and giving Republicans their first political victory in a national campaign to overturn the controversial health care law passed by Congress in March.
“The citizens of the Show-Me State don’t want Washington involved in their health care decisions,” said Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, one of the sponsors of the legislation that put Proposition C on the August ballot. She credited a grass-roots campaign involving Tea Party and patriot groups with building support for the anti-Washington proposition.
With most of the vote counted, Proposition C was winning by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1. The measure, which seeks to exempt Missouri from the insurance mandate in the new health care law, includes a provision that would change how insurance companies that go out of business in Missouri liquidate their assets.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Cunningham said at a campaign gathering at a private home in Town and Country. “Citizens wanted their voices to be heard.”
About 30 Proposition C supporters whooped it up loudly at 9 p.m. when the returns flashed on the television showing the measure passing with more than 70 percent of the vote.
“It’s the vote heard ’round the world,” said Dwight Janson, 53, from Glendale, clad in an American flag-patterned shirt. Janson said he went to one of the first Tea Party gatherings last year and hopped on the Proposition C bandwagon because he wanted to make a difference.
“I was tired of sitting on the sidelines bouncing my gums,” he said.
Missouri was the first of four states to seek to opt out of the insurance purchase mandate portion of the health care law that had been pushed by Obama. And while many legal scholars question whether the vote will be binding, the overwhelming approval gives the national GOP momentum as Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma hold similar votes during midterm elections in November.
“It’s a big number,” state Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, said of the vote. “I expected a victory, but not of this magnitude. This is going to propel the issue and several other issues about the proper role of the federal government.”
From almost the moment the Democratic-controlled Congress passed the health care law