Washington (CNN) - National Republicans are touting a primary result in Missouri where voters overwhelmingly rejected a key controversial part of the new health care law. But Democrats downplay the significance of the vote, the first in which the new health care law was on a ballot.
More than 70 percent of Missouri primary voters Tuesday cast ballots in favor of Proposition C. The measure would allow state residents to opt out of mandatory health insurance, a key part of the new health care reform law, which was pushed by President Obama and Congressional Democrats. The proposition prohibits the federal government from requiring people to have health insurance or penalizing them for not having such insurance.
"In a significant blow to the Obama administration, the people of Missouri overwhelmingly struck down a central pillar of ObamaCare by passing a statute that prevents the federal government from requiring individuals to purchase health insurance," says Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, in a statement. "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the Obama administration that government-run healthcare is a gross overreach of the federal government that needs to be repealed and replaced."
In a full court press, the top Republicans in the Senate and the House released similar messages.
"All throughout the health care debate, Democrat leaders in Washington told themselves they could do what they want, and then persuade Americans after the fact that it was okay. Last night, the voters in Missouri overwhelmingly rejected that notion. The people of Missouri have sent a message to Washington: enough is enough," says Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
"There is one constant in the story of ObamaCare: the steadfast opposition of the American people to out-of-touch Washington Democrats' plan," adds House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio.
More Republicans than Democrats appear to have voted in Tuesday's primary. According to unofficial results compiled by the Associated Press, 577,612 ballots were cast in the GOP Senate primary, compared to 315,787 cast in the Democratic Senate primary. On Proposition C, 938,782 people voted, with 71 percent in favor of the measure and 29 percent opposed.
Democrats have a very different take on the primary vote.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs Wednesday described the Missouri results as "a vote of no legal significance in the midst of heavy Republican primaries"
"It's essentially meaningless – there was a hotly contested Republican primary, and those voters were the ones voting on this. Also, it has no legal significance – and Democrats didn't pay any attention to it or even run a campaign against it because of it," a Democratic source tells CNN.
Since federal law generally trumps state measures, the fate of Proposition C will most likely be decided in court.
"Ultimately the courts are going to have to decide about states rights and federal authority when it comes to the Obama health care law. For now this is no more than another Republican talking point to use to energize voters for November and to try to keep the Democrats on the defensive," says Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report.
But Republicans say Tuesday's vote is a sign of things to come in the upcoming midterm elections, when the Democrats will try to defend their majorities in both houses of Congress and their lead among governorships.
"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," adds Steele.
Americans appear to be divided on the overall law. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll released last week, the public's split on lawmakers should repeal the new law and replace it with new proposals.
–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn
–CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett contributed to this report
Updated: 3:21 p.m.
Only Conservatives would vote against their own best interest. Didn't this health care bill contain some or all of the elements the bill Mitt Romney passed in his state when he was Governor? So it was okay if it was a Conservative-backed bill but not a Liberal-backed bill? Republicans are truly crazy
EXCELLENT Missouri.......the "Show Me State"
good... Can I dump my automobile insurance now too???
A conservative state.... what did the GOP expect? I will glad once the conservatives finally destroy this country and they are all have there voices removed, then we can finally rebuild together rather than divided.
All that proves is the people of Missouri are like all republicans – dumber than a rock – They tout themselves as the "show me state" – well the repugs show stupidity and like a cow in a herd of cattle the Missouri mules just follow.Just another stupid backward red state. probably with poor edcuation, poor health care, poor infant mortality, poor employement, but by god they believe the republicans will "trickle down" some crumbs for them! HA!
i hope the rest of the bill stated that if you can't pay for your health care, you can't receive any.
Stop Medicare payments to Missouri. It's a damn Government run program. While you're at it, better stop Social Security payments too.
Then Medicare and Medicaid should opt-out of Missouri and let them fend for themselves.
Repealed and replaced with what?
I guess they want government Medicaid.
They can already opt out. The bill just indicates that if those that do have insurance are exempt from a tax.
But how's this for an option? You don't have to have health insurance. But if you don't and you do get sick you cannot seek any care without proof of payment up front. Additionally, if you end up having a highly infectious disease, say hepatitis B, and you don't seek early treatment because you don't want to pay but spread the disease to others, some of which die, you should be tried for manslaughter and be subject to a civil law suit.
That's what would happen if you were driving without (or even with) driver's insurance and got into an accident that injured and killed several people.
And what would the RNC replace "Obamacare" with ?
So we dont need health care becuase no one in Mo. wants it? OK so what is the republican alternative besides letting people die in the streets because of their past economic failures we dont have homes anymore. yup a real brilliant group! in fact get rid of it all highways , hospitals, all infrastructure and bring ion even more illegals for greater profits!
missouri is the meth capital of the world what would you except? i bet when they get sick and have to go to hospital they wish they had coverage,
who want to pay for any insurance certainly not me but I realize the need to have it. I own my house and car I wish I didn't have to insure them but legally I have to.
More political stunts by the GOBP. Are they ever going to work for the people?
LOL. Big deal. It was a symbolic vote. Missouri is a red state anyway.
Federal law trumps state law anyway.
Anything else you sleaze bag republicans want to entertain us with?
my 1st vote ever was 4 bill clintons 2nd term. my next vote will b straight REPUBLICAN.
Yeah, right, what this article does not tell you is only 20% turned out to vote. So much for a majority...
Obama and the Dems still don't get it...Most of Americans don't want health ccare the way Obama has crafted it. REPEAL>>>>
Yeah, let's repeal the fact that my college graduate kids who can't get a job can now get covered on my insurance until they are 26 (at least until the Corporations find a way to take that away from me too). Let's repeal the coverage my nephew with Juvenile Diabetes gets because they can't reject him for a pre-existing condition. If all of these people are so stressed about the deficit, where were they when the banks got too big to fail? Where were they when the previous administration neglected to put two wars in the budget? Enough already. Get real facts, if you listen to Fox, bite your toungue and listen to MSNBC too.
and vise-versa. listen to all the sides of the issue. Listen, think it all over and decide for yourself. Don't just follow that charming guy who gets 400 billion $ a year and does his show with a solid gold microphone. make your own decisions.
Let's make it simple - if you're a Republican, then you don't get health care. You can't use any type of hospital. Everything has to be paid out of your wallet.
If you're not a Republican, then you get health care and access to all hospitals and doctors.
Obummercare is unconstitutional and that's all there is to it. It's about time the Supreme Court weighed in on the scope and reach of the commerce clause and put it in it's place. It should be nothing more than a small tool at the government's disposal to prevent anarchy regarding interstate commerce. The democrats want to use it to do whatever they want whenever they want and thats just wrong. We must bind down the federal government with the chains that are our Constitution!
Ya can't win. The purpose of this mandatory health insurance is to get everyone involved and thus keep prices down. Wait till your insurance rates are either denied or go way up due to non regulation by the insurance companies who don't care one bit about you – just profits Just like the GOP
I guess the Republican way is to run this country down and hope that they can play the guy in the white hat and save the day. I am ashamed to say I once considered myself a Republican. Now I love my country too much to vote Republican.