Missouri Voters Reject Individual Mandate in Health Care Reform Law
On Tuesday, Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved a measure (HB 1764) intended to block the federal health reform law's individual mandate, making Missouri the first state where residents have expressed their opposition to the overhaul at the polls, the New York Times reports (Davey, New York Times, 8/3).
Seventy-one percent of voters approved the measure -- known as Proposition C -- while 29% voted against it.
Tuesday's vote was held in tandem with Missouri's Democratic and Republican primaries, where high GOP voter turnout was expected because of several close contests (Levey, Los Angeles Times, 8/4). In total, 65% of votes cast on Tuesday were for Republican candidates (Noble, Kansas City Star, 8/4).
Effect of Vote Up for Debate
Despite winning voters' approval, the measure likely will have limited immediate effects, as the individual mandate does not take effect until 2014 and federal law typically trumps state law (Landers, Wall Street Journal, 8/4).
However, Missouri Hospital Association officials -- who opposed Prop. C -- said that if enforced, the measure could have ramifications for consumers by increasing hospitals' charity care burden and subsequently raising premiums for the insured.
Proponents of Prop. C have contended that the law will impose "meaningful restrictions" on Missouri's state government as it implements the health reform law and could provide a foundation for a legal challenge to the overhaul (Kansas City Star, 8/4).
Christie Herrera -- task force director for the American Legislative Exchange Council -- said, "Proposition C will be a boon to other states that are trying to repeal the individual mandate," adding, "Having that grassroots groundswell will give political courage to lawmakers," (Gillam, Reuters, 8/3).
Other States Expected To Follow Missouri's Precedent
Voters in Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma are expected to consider similar ballot measures in November (Kansas City Star, 8/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.