Missouri Voters Reject Individual Mandate to Purchase Health Insurance



In January, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a polling report showing that, of the various headline provisions in new health care law (which at the time had not yet passed), the least popular was the requirement that every American to purchase private health insurance or face a penalty. Throughout the health care debate, most polls on the subject found that the individual mandate, a key feature in the law's nearly universal insurance scheme, was among the least popular provisions. And the fact that the electorate opposed such a provision by a significant margins had been well understood for years; as a candidate for president, Obama specifically opposed the mandate, saying,"If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house." But once in office, Obama flipped his position. The bill passed with the insurance-purchase requirement intact. It's currently scheduled to take effect in 2014.

But that doesn't mean people like it any better. Turns out that in Missouri, at least, the individual mandate remains deeply unpopular. Yesterday, reports the New York Times, the state's voters "strongly approved a new law that rejects a key provision of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul." By a 71 percent to 29 percent margin, voters approved Proposition C, which, according to the ballot text, "will amend Missouri law to deny the government authority to penalize citizens for refusing to purchase private health insurance or infringe upon the right to offer or accept direct payment for lawful health care services."

What's still unknown is whether the ban on insurance mandates will stand up to legal challenge. Federal law usually trumps state law, and even amongst experts critical of the individual mandate, few think states are likely to win in court. But as the Goldwater Institute's Clint Bolick has argued, it's not a foregone conclusion that laws like the one approved by Missouri's voters will be struck down. And either way, votes like these serve as a reminder that one of the key provisions of the president's signature achievement remains deeply unpopular.

NEXT: Reason.tv: The Case For Cameras in The Supreme Court

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Happy Birtherday, Mr. President.

      1. My friends tell me I look like Marilyn.

  2. Missouri Voters Reject Individual Mandate to Purchase Health Insurance.

    The armies of the Union shall march towards their capital and burn it to the ground as example to the other renegades.

  3. Obama specifically opposed the mandate, saying,”If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house.” But once in office, Obama flipped his position.

    No he didn’t flip his position – he flipped the bird, on us.

    1. And now, the country is returning the favor and flipping the bird right back at him. The pushback has begun; the revolt is underway.

      1. Sire, the peasants are revolting!

        1. You’re telling me – they stink on ice!

      2. And now, the country is returning the favor and flipping the bird right back at him

        That’s racist!

    2. Obama flipped on a campaign promise? Say it ain’t so!

      Next you’ll be telling me he didn’t pull all troops out of Iraq on the day he took office….

    3. Old Mexican, the campaign is over.

  4. If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house.

    Commerce Clause, bitchez!

    Or we can do it as an exercise of taxing authority, by giving refundable tax credits equal to the purchase price of the house. Feel the stimulation!

    1. “If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house.”

      “If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve greenhouse warming by mandating everybody buy a Volt.”

      “If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve GM’s problems by mandating everybody buy a Volt.”

      “If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve unemployment by mandating everybody buy a Volt.”

      Whoa – didn’t mean to pick on Volt – I’ll try some others

      “If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve too many homes by mandating everybody buy a house…in Detroit”
      I could go on, but there arn’t enough bytes in the universe.

      1. “but there arn’t enough bytes in the universe.”

        Not enough bytes?

        Oh No!

        This calls for a massive government subsidy of bytes.

      2. your logic is flawed

  5. But I thought Obamacare was getting more popular?

  6. I’m friends with one of the State Senators that got Prop C on the ballot and campaigned hard for it. He’s a happy boy this morning, let me tell you.

  7. Like I said in the other thread. This could at least be partially attributed to turnout. The liberal base is pretty quite here and the primary for the democratic candidate has been tepid. Prop C on the other hand seems to have energized the republican base and a lot of independents.

    I think Saint Louis and KC were the only counties to go no on C. Boone (the county for the state college) was close at 51%. So the liberals all stayed home and didn’t go sweat at the polls.

    1. If those turnout numbers hold in November or don’t improve drastically, the Democrats are in a lot of trouble. I hope Carnahan has plans for retirement.

      1. The only sad thing about that is that it will be the Republicans who benefit.

        1. They can’t handle power either.

        2. Someone has to. We are down to our last out here. If the Republicans fuck up and embrace the David Frums of the world, there will be a third party. If the third party backfires and lets the Democrats back in, there will be a revolution. I am not kidding.

          1. And there’s every indication that will happen. That tanning bed titmouse John Boehner can’t run fast enough from any suggestion that the federal budget – or even the projected increases – will be cut so much as a penny. What’s important to him is that his gang is in charge of the $4 trillion monster.

            1. Then Boehner can rot in hell.

              1. Better ram through that appropriation for the 37,000,000,000 SPF for him, then.

        3. Yeah, because it would be so much better if the Democrats benefitted. Of course this could benefit one of the non-fringe, consequential third-parties we have in this country. Oh, wait…

          1. I’m think every 120 years or so, we have to have a sea change in political parties.

            I’d like to see the Libertarians vs. the Establishment party.

            1. Two problems with that. The country is still pretty religious. Libertarians don’t play well with religious people. Second, the establishment versus everyone else is also a culture war. And the Libertarians tend to be with the establishment on the culture war.

              A third party if it comes will be against the establishment and for the most part pro small government. But I don’t think the Libertarians are going to like it very much.

              1. And the Libertarians tend to be with the establishment on the culture war.

                Because the establishment wants to end the Drug War and end elective wars in the ME (for example)?

                1. No because the establishment loves open borders and thinks the 1st Amendment is primarily there to protect pornography. And the establishment loves abortion.

              2. I was a bit tongue in cheek there, John.

                I don’t really have any faith that Americans will change. The inertia behind the idea of having government “solve” every problem under the sun is too strong.

                1. I think that is coming to an end. I really do. But I also think that people are not prepared to embrace social libertarianism.

                  1. Mostly what we see here is anti-social libertarianism.

              3. Libertarians don’t play well with religious people.


      2. She’s not even running a campaign. I’m not sure about her strategy, but it seems to be solely predicated on her last name.

        Which might be good enough in MO, it is MO after all.

        1. If it is close, she can always keep the polling places in St. Louis open until she finds enough votes.

          1. Ya. They have a habit of doing that.

        2. From what I’ve witnessed, Carnahan’s campaign consists of taxpayer-paid commercials on KMOX where she reads a PSA script on financial scams that mentions her name about six times.

          1. Ya. I really do think she’s trying to fly in under the radar on her name.

    2. This could at least be partially attributed to turnout.

      Those who “turn out” get to vote. What a concept!

    3. I rant he math myself… combining both primaries, the GOP had 64 percent of the total voters (there were also some minor third party amounts not included in this). Prop C passed with 71 percent.

      So yes turnout differences were part of it, but Prop C still got about 100,000 more votes than did the gop primary candidates.

      Even if you assume equal dem and GOP turnout in november (unlikely assumption) there was a 7 point swing on this issue.

      So if Missori is actually a bellweather state, it suggest that there is 50 percent support for repeal of the mandate on avearge in any congression district that is D+7 or more to the right.

      Priaries dont include most idnependents, but when even the partisans have a 7 point swing, it shows that this thing is unpopular.

      1. That’s why I qualified it with “partially attributed to turnout.”

        1. im not arguing against you… i just thought it would be interesting to find the vote percentage difference.

          1. I know. =)

            I should have done a better job of explaining what I meant though. I’m just over compensating now!

  8. Have we talked about what happens to Obamacare if the mandate is struck down? If insurance companies are still required to deny coverage to nobody with pre-existing conditions, but without the increase in premium pool, won’t that speed the demise of the private insurance company? Or does Obamacare as a whole collapse under a successful mandate challenge? It seems it’s going to be one or the other.

    1. more likely is that there will be a crisis / collapse of the private health insurance business, and then in great sorrow the feds will be forced to nationalize and unionize that sector of the economy

      1. I think they probably need a slow collapse for that to work. If the system collapses quickly, in the next couple of years, I think it’s likely to lead to repeal.

    2. If the individual mandate is struck down, all of Obamacare should be struck down as well. In their haste to get the bill passed, the Democrats forgot to include a “severance” clause which allows the rest of the bill to exist even if a part of it is struck down.

      1. But we had to pass the bill to find out what’s in it!

        You didn’t expect us to read it before voting on it, did you?

      2. But we had to pass the bill to find out what’s in it!

        You didn’t expect us to read it before voting on it did you?

        1. Still, a quick ctrl-f for the word “severance” might have been in order.

      3. I thought I did see a severance clause in there. But I could be wrong. There’s a lot of fucking text in the bill.

        1. This seems like a pretty important part of the complex and beautiful tapestry that is Obamacare and its individual mandate, though, right? I was thinking it must have been discussed and I missed it.

    3. the end of private insurance would be a good thing public option or just roll it all into medicare the japanese and canadians like it hasn’t hurt their economy

  9. Deny coverage for pre-existing conditions? Who wants to bet that HIV will be excluded from that provision?

  10. I don’t see you guys rating
    The kind of mate I’m contemplating
    I’d let you watch, I would invite you
    But the queens we use would not excite you.

    1. Nice to see people still remember me.

  11. There were actually more ballots cast for Prop C than for candidates. So turnout was driven by Prop C, not the other way around as it will be spun.

    1. Prop C was pushed by the Republicans and left alone by the Democrats. So it was a combination of the Republican base and independents that turned out for C. The independent part is what does not fare well for the Democratic party in the fall. I’d venture to say voting being driven by C and Prop C passing is far worse than voting being driven by the Republican primary and Prop C passing.

      1. It’s a slightly heightened pissed off midterm type election.

  12. You know who this benefits the most? Mitt Romney.

    1. Romney’s opponents in the Republican Primary will point out he signed a law similer to Obamacare when he was governor of Mass. and he will be toast.

  13. You know, this heavy reliance on the commerce clause to expand the powers of the federal government does have one interesting and unintended effect. It gives We the People a “nuclear option” of sorts, if we ever want to use it – a simple Constitutional amendment striking the commerce clause. Not that I think we would have the guts to use it, even if it was the only way to keep the country from going down the crapper – but it’s an interesting idea.

    1. I was thinking that too. 71% is the kind of number that would get a constitutional amendment passed to at least refine the Commerce Clause. However, if a convention were held, they’d try to get other amendments like repealing the 2nd. We’ve had that discussion here in the past.

      1. Sure, but repealing the 2nd amendment would still have to be ratified by 38 states, and that’s not going to happen.

    2. From my cold dead hands.

      1. The idea of that made me smile.

    3. How about if we just modify the Commerce Clause. I don’t really want to have to honor California’s money.

    4. You don’t need a Constitutional Convention to pass a single amendment. So why doesn’t someone simply propose an Amendment that refines the Commerce Clause, declaring what “interstate commerce” entails, and clarifying that the power to “regulate” is not the power to either “prohibit” commerce or “require” that it take place?

      Yes, such an amendment would upset quite a few apple carts. On the other hand, it would keep the government so busy eliminating departments and striking laws and regulations (what a concept!) that we might experience a new golden age of American liberty.

  14. Oh, for the love of warming Gaia! These Missourians don’t even know what’s in the bill. How can they even vote on it?!

    This is racism pure and simple.

    Plus, the voters weren’t voting against the Individual Mandate. They’re saying it doesn’t go far enough.

    Don’t you people get it? Doctors keep on getting richer, yet we don’t get a cut!

    It’s time to teach insurance companies a lesson and force every American to buy their product.

    I’m as open minded as anyone, but Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and libertarians need to be silenced. Reason should be shut down, too. Hate doesn’t equal ideas. Hate hate hate hate hate! Externalities! Compassion! Dick Cheney has cooties!

    Obedience is the highest form of patriotism.

    1. You’re a little late to the party.

    2. That’s some decent faux trolling.

    3. I’m stealing this stuff, for sure.

  15. Health care (transformation) is one of the best issues this current administration has done thus far. With this change individuals will have the opportunity to seek professional and quality health care services. Who would want to return to the days of the horse and buggy, b/w tv sets, manual typewriters, pac man, you get the point? That’s about how old the health care system was in the USA. Each day the news is filled with social tragedies in which lives are taken at the hands of known acquaintences and/or family members. Our society is stricken with the institutions of white collar crime permeating throughout this great nation and greed which tends to strike at the very fabric of our country. If you are looking for affordable health insurance check out http://bit.ly/chE6zp . I hope everyone will soon recognize and use the resources made by this transformation to seek professional medical attention as the need arises rather than turning to illegal and criminal activities to resolve their issues.

  16. “Federal law usually trumps state law, and even amongst experts critical of the individual mandate, few think states are likely to win in court. ”

    It can be effectively killed in Congress if the Republicans take back control.

    They can simply refuse to appopriate the funding necessary to administer the enforcement of program in general and the mandate in particular.

    1. Defunding won’t affect the “shall issue” provisions.

      The equation is exceedingly simple:

      Defunding or No-Mandate
      Shall Issue
      Government Takeover and Single Payer

      (DF v NM) + SI = GT & SP

      Bring-it-on, judicial-fiat healthcare opponents. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

      1. They could also defund any enforcement of the law.

      2. “Defunding won’t affect the “shall issue” provisions.”

        It will if there is no funding for government to enforce that regulation on the insurance companies.

        What part of “refuse to appropriate the funding necessary to administer enforcement of the program” don’t you understand?

    2. I’d like to point out that some people were encouraged when GW Bush became President, because they thought a Bush administration would, through appropriate “guidance,” “interpretation,” and “regulation,” blunt the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which had been shoved through Congress and enacted into law by the Clinton administration — a sort of consolation prize for the failure of HillaryCare.

      Unfortunately, not only did W not dial HIPAA down, he and his administration enforced that huge intervention into health care with great vigor, paving the way for ObamaCare.

      Do not make the mistake of thinking that flipping control of congress over to the GOP will help. They’re both driving us to the abbatoir, at best only passing through different neighborhoods to get there.

      This year, and for the next several election cycles, voters need to fire incumbents and give the vacated seats to third-party candidates or independents who have demonstrated a capacity to understand the Constitution and the strength of character to keep the oath to preserve, protect, and defend it.

  17. ok so we need the public option but if these people are really foolish enough to give back what was won so far then missouri doesn’t need it wait until the insurance companies show their colors.I have nothing against religion except they want to control everyone else because like all religions they ARE RIGHT no matter what you want or think and therein lies the problem

    1. “I have nothing against religion except they want to control everyone else because like all religions they ARE RIGHT no matter what you want or think and therein lies the problem”

      And I have nothing against socialists except except that socialists want to control everyone else because, like all statists, they ARE RIGHT no matter what you want or think and therein lies the problem.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.