Missouri voters yesterday overwhelmingly passed Proposition C, a state law keeping the government from mandating that people have health insurance and from fining them for not purchasing it.
The requirement that people have health insurance is one of the key provisions of the health care bill signed into law in March, and Proposition C puts state law in direct conflict with the federal requirement, which goes into effect in 2014. Federal law generally supersedes state law, making the vote essentially symbolic.
Republicans are this morning hailing the vote as evidence of "the steadfast opposition of the American people to out-of-touch Washington Democrats' plan," in the words of House Republican leader John Boehner.
"The more the American people know about the Democrats' new law - with its job-killing mandates, tax hikes, and Medicare cuts to set up a new federal entitlement and massive new bureaucracies - the more they oppose it," he added. "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?"
While Republicans are pointing to the ease with which the measure passed as evidence that Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to the Democrats' health care plans - Proposition C got 71 percent of the vote - opposition to the plan is not quite that high (though there is still more opposition than support). In a, 36 percent of Americans said they approve of the health care reform law, while 49 percent opposed it.
The GOP hopes that anger over the health care bill will help drive turnout in the midterm elections, and the enthusiasm of Proposition C supporters interviewed in this Post Dispatch story seems to give them more reason for optimism: One calls Proposition C "the vote heard 'round the world" while another said "This is going to propel the issue and several other issues about the proper role of the federal government."
In a statement, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said the vote was "a significant blow to the Obama administration."
"By rejecting ObamaCare with nearly three-quarters of the vote in a critical swing state, Missouri sent a clear message to Democrats and the Obama administration that government-run healthcare is a gross overreach of the federal government that needs to be repealed and replaced," he said. "...Last night's decisive vote against a key provision of ObamaCare, arguably the cornerstone of the Obama presidency, shows how completely detached the Democrat agenda is from the American electorate, and is another reason why Republicans will win back the majority in November."
At the conservative blog Hot Air, Ed Morrissey argues that "Democrats may have to hit the panic button after seeing the results from this swing state."
"Bear in mind that over 315,000 Democrats turned out to cast ballots in the primary that nominated Robin Carnahan, while over 577,000 Republicans hit the polls," he writes. "That is about a 65/35 split -- which means that a significant amount of Democrats either supported the ballot measure repudiating ObamaCare, or didn't bother to cast a vote to defend the program. Actually, Prop C got more votes than the combined voting in both Senate primaries -- which tells us something even more about the passion in the electorate."