August 4th, 2010
11:58 AM ET
4 years ago

Republicans tout Missouri vote against health care law

 RNC Chairman Michael Steele is touting a primary result in Missouri where voters rejected a key provision of the new health care law.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele is touting a primary result in Missouri where voters rejected a key provision of the new health care law.

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the Obama administration that government-run healthcare is a gross overreach of the federal government that needs to be repealed and replaced."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.


Filed under: Health care • issues • Missouri • Popular Posts • RNC
soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. michael

    No problem folks, but...just wait until you or a family member are denied due to pre existing conditions are can't get the cancer treatment drugs because you have exceeded your cap...

    Pretty foolish and short sighted but not a surprise in this country lol.

    August 4, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. DFTycoon

    America is going backwards and is doomed to become a banana republic if the GOP and teabaggers have their way.

    August 4, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. James klimaski

    If the Missouri voters are serious about wanting to reject health care insurance, that would be alright by me if they then agree to pay their own medical bills and not rely on governments, state and Federal to pick up the tab. Get sick, can't pay, you die. If that is really what they want, then that's what they will get. No state paid for funerals either.

    August 4, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. Beverly - NYC

    Wait until the first Missourian without health insurance needs major surgery and has to spend themselves into bankruptcy. They will be singing a different tune and looking to point fingers, remember your vote. Enjoy your victory of the moment, thinking you will always be healthy, hope your decision does not come back to bite you in the posterior. I for one am tired of paying for those who refuse to take care of themselves.

    August 4, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. Anthony Paolillo

    they should rename the article, Republicans vote to repeal healthcare law.

    August 4, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. John

    This means nothing. This was a low-turnout primary in which the Republicans had a contested statewide race and the Democrats didn't. So 70% of those voting statewide were Repubicans – so it's no surprise that 70% voted for it. The overall turnout was 25% or less – so were talking about 70% of 25%, which comes out to about 18% of Missouri voters.

    Finally, it will be overturned by the courts because of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, which says that federal laws trump state laws. So when it comes down to it, all it means is that hard-core Republicans are willing to waste taxpayers money (defending a law in court that has no chance of standing) in order to make a political point.

    August 4, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. Phil in KC

    Federal law pre-empts state law. So that vote was just posturing. It carries no real weight. Besides – look at the turn-out. I'm guessing it was rather small. So, basically, the people who were voting for it were already motivated. I doubt it seriously represents the view point of 70% of Missourians.

    August 4, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  8. jim atmadison

    So they ran a big deal GOP primary and a who-cares Dem primary, and Romneycare lost?

    Whoop-de-doo.

    August 4, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. Dern Foley

    .
    If the people of Missouri had been allowed to vote:
    .
    on Civil Rights (1964) – Michael Steele's name would be Jim Crow
    .
    on Emancipation (1864) – Michael Steele would be another man's 'property'....

    August 4, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  10. Tom-Vermillion, Ohio

    Regarding statement: "More than 70 percent of Missouri voters cast ballots in favor of Proposition C..." Of that 70%, I wonder how many people actually read the health care law or got help to understand the law, or did they simply vote that way because their Republican leadership told them to vote that way. And who, might I ask, put some 'poison' legislation into that Health Care Law.

    August 4, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  11. once upon a horse

    I too admit that you should NOT force people to buy health insurance....but the alternative of course is for we working taxpayers to keep on paying for the uninsured and (GASP GOD FORBID) illegal aliens who also get medical coverage and can not be denied. So it's a two edged sword no matter how you swing it.

    August 4, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. Boomer in MO

    The law did not go far enough so we need to get another one passed that makes it illegal for hospitals, doctors, etc. to pass on unpaid bills to paying customers as they do now and also allows hospitals to refuse care to anyone if they can't prove ability to pay as soon as they come in. Sure, lots of folks will end up dying just outside the emergency room door but I won't have to pay their bills anymore.

    August 4, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Don't worry libertards, Obozo is packing the courts with wrong headed people who don't pay their taxes and adore the Castro brothers and Chavez. I am sure this will lose its court challenge just like Obozo will lose the elections. It is treason, when these elected officials refuse to reflect the sentiment of the citizens and lie about so much. It will take years for the forces of good and sanity to repeal the Obozocare farces.

    August 4, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. Tony T

    This is news? Everyone knows the American people don't want this healthcare scam forced on them. Since it is unconstitutional, I am wondering how the administration so quickly took up Arizona's law, but with 30+ states lined up to sue to stop this HC scam, it gets bogged by by Holder and his cronies.

    August 4, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. D A R T H L A W S U I T.

    Very interesting, i wonder how this will play out. Well a 3rd party will still be better, no baggage.

    August 4, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. Scott Trent

    ObamaCare sucks. Obama sucks...

    August 4, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. Sherlock Combs

    Smackdown Obama! We DON'T WANT your big, expensive, quality-reducing, government-run healthcare rammed down our throats!

    August 4, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. RJ

    ....liberals gonna blame these results on Bush?

    August 4, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. James Nichols

    We the people of Missouri have made our voices heard about "Obama Care". I am proud to be from Missouri.

    James Nichols

    August 4, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. rhumba

    Let anybody opt out who wants to. Just make sure that they pay for every medical service that they receive. No more free emergency room treatment. They'll need to prove they can pay before they're treated. Boehner and the rest of the conservatives constantly whine about people living on the taxpayer dole, but they support allowing people to take advantage of emergency room care without requiring them to have health insurance? Who do they think is paying for all that free care? Yep, it's you and me, the taxpayers. As far as I'm concerned, if people are not required to buy health insurance and take care of themselves, then the government is requiring me to pay for them. Where's the conservative logic in that?

    August 4, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  21. GOP=PIG

    Well, thats just great. So guess who will be picking up the tab for these koolaid drinking sheep when they get sick and dont have insurance, yep, you and me.

    August 4, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. snow

    nobama's health care deformity is starting to come apart at the seams. I feel good about our chances of getting rid of it and only hope the immigration laws of Arizona are up held.

    August 4, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. key

    Uninsured or under insured cost us millions of dollars once those cost are passed on. The hospitals will past the cost on to other people who can pay.

    August 4, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. Shiranee Dassanayake

    I think Mr. Steele wishes he were Obama and is frustrated that he doesn not have the charisma or the intellectual brilliance that Obama has.

    August 4, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. Jilli

    Stupid. Par for the course for republicans – they never miss an opportunity for republican legislators to screw the middle class. They've been doing it for 30 years, and the lemmings keep voting for them. Stupid is as stupid does.

    August 4, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
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