What Does the Missouri Vote on the Individual Mandate Tell Us?

That Republicans don’t support health care reform.

Opponents of health care reform have been touting the results of yesterday’s primary in Missouri as if it were a national referendum on “the will of the people.” After all, more than 70 percent of voters who came out for the primary cast ballots in favor of Proposition C, a  measure that would allow state residents to opt out of mandatory health insurance.

What most reports on the primary don’t mention is that the majority of the primary voters were Republicans.  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

Because the Republican primary was hotly contested, GOP voters came out in force. So now we know what have known for months: Republicans are opposed to health care reform.  Many just don’t see universal coverage as a top priority, some are worried that it will cost too much, and others just want to “break Obama.”

According to the latest Gallup poll only 17% of Republicans called reform “a good thing” while 79% saw it as “a bad thing.”Among Democrats, 76% favored reform, while 18% gave it the thumbs down. Meanwhile 43% of Independents gave the legislation the Martha Stewart “good thing” seal of approval while just 51% disapproved.

A more recent Kaiser   poll released late in July showed a similar trend: 69% of Republicans opposed  reform while 48% of independents said they favored the law.  Overall, when responses from voters of all political persuasions were combined, 50% supported reform while opposition had fallen to 35%.

"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

22 thoughts on “What Does the Missouri Vote on the Individual Mandate Tell Us?

  1. The RNC put miniscule resources into this 17,000 total, which pales to the 400,000 spent by the MHA. All told supporters of the proposition were outspent nearly 3 to 1. To act like they didn’t care, the money doesn’t back that line of thought up. If you want to know how a group feels about an issue as always you look at the money spent. The 70% pass rate might be explained according to your polls if it was a closed primary, but it wasn’t. Thirty five percent voted in the Democratic primary and that doesn’t take into effect independents that voted in both. Split the difference on your polls and say 75% of R’s voted for prop c. They were 65% of the turnout, which means a majority of those voting in the democratic primary nearly 60% still would have to have voted for it for it to pass by such a high number. Legal challenges aside, the ONE thing you can take from last night is missourians HATE the mandate.

  2. “…the ONE thing you can take from last night is missourians HATE the mandate”
    Not exactly. The only accurate thing you can take from this vote is that about 11% of Missourians disapprove of the mandate.
    We very rarely HATE anything around here….

  3. Oh, we hate lots of things. Jayhawks and Cornhuskers are just two things we hate off the top of my head, that and apparently the mandate as well.

  4. As a graduate from the University of Kansas “Jayhawks”, I have to disagree with the Missourian who said they hate Jayhawks. They only hate us when we beat them in basketball. Okay, on to more important matters…
    When did the real passionate dislike for our presidents first come into vogue? Was it Nixon, Clinton? It seems that the minority party learns from the previous minority party on how to bog things down. All we heard in Texas was how much everyone hated Bush and now we hear how everyone hates Obama.
    It’s this posturing that I hate most about politics and only absolute transparency will make it go away. I long for the days when our representatives listened to us more than those who send them on trips to Acapulco, NYC or Las Vegas.
    I love the political process in its purest form: rich and honest debate. No longer do we have that as people are too worried about how they’ll look and who they might offend.
    Where’s “give ‘em hell Harry” when you need him?

  5. Jenga:
    I would point out that just because Prop C passed, doesn’t mean that more than 70% will actually opt out.
    How many people actually choose to opt out will tell us a lot more about what the state as a whole thinks about health care reform.

  6. That wasn’t the issue. It was whether they thought that the government had to right to penalize for not buying insurance or should have the ability to ban direct payment for services. Maggie’s second line should have read Democrats don’t like the mandate too. That doesn’t fit her narrative though. Even if you go above the worst poll for reform and say 80% voted for prop c. To pass by such a wide margin, the majority of Democrats would have to have voted for prop c as well, but obviously that’s bad news for progressives and we wouldn’t see that here.
    BTW Missourians hate for Jayhawks is not seasonal it’s daily.

  7. Of course some Democrats don’t like the mandate. I don’t like it at all. I would have preferred a plain honest tax instead of this bastardized version of half tax half commerce regulation, or whatever it is. From day one I had my doubts regarding its constitutionality.
    I wanted “Obama Care” to go much further than it does today, and I suspect many more liberals share that feeling.
    We need to remove “hate” from our political discourse. “Oppose” should be good enough.
    I don’t know about Jayhawks, but I have a little Cubs fan living in my house and we get along fabulous, with minor exceptions when they play the Cards….

  8. Margalit Gur-Arie wrote:
    Of course some Democrats don’t like the mandate. I don’t like it at all. I would have preferred a plain honest tax instead of this bastardized version of half tax half commerce regulation,
    ————
    As I wrote a few days ago, I think it will be great fun to watch the conservatives if this mandate to buy private health insurance is declared unconstitutional. I think there is NO going back to the healthcare for only those that can afford it, so if the individual mandate is declard illegal, then tax supported single payer (at least regionally) is the only game left. Think about the great fun watching the conservatives arguing for both no private purchase mandate and also no other options for universal coverage. It would just expose them for the confused, antisocial group that they are!

  9. ng, Jenga, Margalit, stop smoking . .
    Unfortunately, if the conservatives managed to kill the mandate (which I doubt) we wouldn’t go to single-payer.
    Democrats still wouldn’t have the support for single-payer. (Single-payer would mean telling the 85% of Americans who have employer-based insurance that they have to give it up. “Over my dead body” would be their response. (Polls show that the vast majority who have employer-based insurance like it, in large part because their employers pays such a large share.
    If employer-based insurance disappeared, employers would NOT raise your wages by an amount equal to what they paid toward your insurance. The 1990s taught us that employers do not raise wages unless they absolutely have to.
    So everyone should understand what is at stake here: if conservatives manage to undo the reform legislation, we go back to the status quo.
    Reform legilsation provides great benefits for low-income families and good benefits for middle-class families. It does not offer such clear benefits for upper-middle-class families. (earning over, say $70,000 joint.) They are ambivalent about reform. Seniors are definitely opposed to reform. Seniors and upper-middle-class famlies vote and have political power.
    Low-income families are much less likely to vote, and have little power (no lobbies.) The conservative middle-class votes. The liberal middle-class (African American, Latino, immigrants, old-fashioned 50-something liberals are much less likely to vote.)
    If conservatives kill this legislation, we won’t have another reform effort until the middle-class (people earning $55,000 to $60,000 joint) has lost its employer-based insurance–or cannot afford it because premums and co-pays are so high.
    Maybe in 8 or 10 years.
    Some of the most liberal people I know have predicted, from the beginning that this is what will have to happen before Americans will really support reform. The system will have to collapse, and a great many middle-class Americans will have to suffer and die needlessly before this country will realize that we have to think collectively, and accept an individual mandate.
    I hope they are wrong. But if too many liberals delude themsleves into thinking that the majority of Americans will want single-payer anytime soon– and those liberals stand by and let conservatives take over Congress (by not voting this fall) that is exactly what will happen.
    Margalit: You need to understand the tradeoff.
    Either we have an individual mandate, or we can’t tell insurers that they must cover everyone with pre-existing conditions. People would wait until they’re sick to sign up for insurance, and it would be unaffordable for everyone.
    It’s really that simple.
    A tax alone won’t do it.
    We have to have healthy and young people physically in the insurance pool–and committed to it. A tax wouldn’t do that.
    In many ways the mandate is like a tax because it forces you to contribute money to a safety-net service, but we could never tax people by the amount that they will have to pay for insurance (probably $12,000 to $14.000 for a family if they have no employer-based insurance and don’t qualify for a subsidy (i.e. earn over $78,000). You can’t just raise taxes on an upper-middle class family by that amount; they have to get something in return. Good comprehensive insurance, with the government regulating it so that insurers can’t hike premiums unreasonably and can’t cheat you is worth it.
    Let me add, if we have a public option (which I think may well happen) a family plan would cost about $12,000; if we had single-payer, a family plan would still cost $12,000 (I’m talking about the price in 2014.)
    The Commonwealth Fund has done the numbers and on this and Commonwealth is very good.
    Jegna– click on the links and look at the polls. Democats are smart enough to understand that unless we have a mandate, insurers cannot be asked to cover pre-existing condtitions. People would have to wait until they are sick to sign up for insurance.
    Most Democrats feel very strongly that they want insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions and not charge them more. That’s a top priority about Democrats and many Independents.
    stop-smoking–
    passionate hatred of our president began with FDR.
    His response: “They hate me. Let them hate me.”
    (He was seen as a “traitor” to his class becaue he raised taxs on the wealthy to help the poor. In addition FDR was called a
    Ni____-lover because he wasn’t racist. Conservatives spread rumors that Eleanor was having an affair with a black man . . It’s a wonder neither FDR nor Eleanor were assasinated. I’ve read an enormosu amount about the Roosevelts, and I don’t think any president has been as hated–until Obama. (The passionate hatred of Hillary compares to the hatred of Eleanor. But Bill was never hated the way Hillary was.)
    Dick Nixon is the next president who was hated, but not with the same passion. People thought he was a crook (tricky Dick)
    but they didn’t hate his personal values. I can remember the public reaction to him– scorn, ridicule, some pity–but not blood-thirsty hate.
    After that, no president was really hated until Clinton– who was hated only by moderate and conservative Christian whites who objected to his adolescent sexual escapades. Many (not all) liberal/progressive whites liked him in spite of the
    lack of impulse control–and of course African-Americans and Latinos loved him.(The fact that African-Americans loved Clilnton so much that he was called the “first black president” added to hatred among some conservative whites.)
    George Bush was disliked by well-educated Americans–including many Republicans. But the polls suggest that he was not intensely hated. In fact, the majority of Americans liked him–and thought they would like to have a beer with him–at least until the last 2 years of his 8 year presdiency. And the number of assassination threats was low during his years in office.
    Now his popularity is rising once again (which suggests that Jed might have a shot at the White House.).
    With the election of Obama, the president is once again hated, with passion, but a large part of the population. Keep in mind: Obama did not get 50% of the white vote. Among whites who voted the majority voted for McCain, and McCain was not a very strong candidate.(Popular only among older Americans. So in many cases it was largely a vote against Obama rather than a vote for McCain.
    Obama won because more African-Americans, Latinos and Asians came out to vote and they voted overwhelming for Obama. Without their vote, McCain would have won.
    The people who didn’t vote for Obama in 2008 like him even less now. They don’t like health reform. They don’t like the fact that he is expanding Medicaid for the poor. The dont’ like the fact that he doesn’t think we should erect a barbed-wire fence around the Southwest.. They don’t like seeing Michelle in the White House. They dont’ like the people he is appointing– a 3rd woman on the Supreme Court!!! OMG!!
    The ugliness of the cartoons on the Web (Obama shining shoes, etc.) says iti all.
    Assassination threat are way up, though I think by now the Secret Service really has figured out how to protect a president.
    Racism has divided this country for a long time, and once again it’s rearing its ugly head. Obama tried hard to persuade us that we’re now living in a post-racist era, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. (I think most of us knew that.) The anger about immigrants is all tied up with racism. If they were comign from Iceland they would be accepted.
    This is very sad, but true.
    P.S.–I also liked Truman. But that was a very different time in American history. There were fewer divisions in society(at least in white society) and much more collective thinking.

  10. Maggie,
    It is the courts theoretically that will decide the fate of the individual mandate, so everything you say may well be possible if the currently conservative Supreme Court rules that it is unconstitutional to force people to buy PRIVATE (emphasis) health insurance.
    I am just saying that if this mandate, which is the key to universal coverage in the current new law, is thrown away, the country will see quite a sight with conservatives cheering the demise universal coverage and then fighting all other then legal methods to obtain it. That will be a sad show indeed, and may well open the eyes of some fence sitters (hopefully but maybe not in America!)!

  11. ng–
    If you read what constitutional scholars say, you’ll find that the vast majority are certain that there is no basis in the law for declaring the mandate unconstitutional.
    Because most Americans know nothing about constitutional law, conservatives have been able to pretend that it is possible that the court could overturn the mandate–and that this is a real issue.
    This is simply a ploy to give tea-baggers something to rally around.
    From the point of view of constitutional scholars, the argument has no basis in reality: “There are many close constitutional questions. But this is not among them,”says Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at the University of California at Irvine.
    “All of these arguments don’t work, but they’re interesting to debate,” said Jack M. Balkin, a constitutional law professor at Yale Law School.
    The Virginia court ruling agreeing to take the case is based on a Virgina law which says that any state can reject any federal statute and declare it invalid in that state.
    Clearly, that is unconstitutional. (Federal law trumps state law. If states could ignore federal law as they chose, some states would have rejected school integratgion, and declared segregated buses, restaurants, etc. legal. Many states would have loved to do that, but they couldn’t.
    Because federal law trumps state law, long-standing Supreme Court precedent, reaffirmed as recently as 2007, provides that the federal courts cannot hear cases brought by a state claiming that a federal law is unconstitutional.In other words, there is a real question as to whether a federal court could legally hear the case. It might never get past state courts.
    In addition, even the Cato Insitute’s Ilya Shapiro agrees that the Supreme court would very likely be reluctant to even consider the case. This is a major piece of legislation. For the Surpreme Court to strike it down would be unprecedented. When Congress passed Social Security, opponents tried to get the Supreme Court to declare Social security unconstitutional; the court refused to hear the case.
    For the judicial brand to undermine the executive brand and Congress in such a way would no doubt lead to a constitutional crisis–something this country can ill afford at this time.
    I very much doubt the court wants to start another civil war. The majority of Americans do not trust the Supreme Court at this point in time. Many are uneasy with lifetime appointments. The court doesn’t want to test its standing by going up against the executiv branch and Congress. That would make people very, very nervous about the Supreme Court over-reaching.
    The only legal scholars who pretend to take the constitutional challenge seriously belong to extreme right wing organizations like Heritage. They are a distinct minority among legal experts.

  12. Maggie wrote:
    For the judicial brand to undermine the executive brand and Congress in such a way would no doubt lead to a constitutional crisis–something this country can ill afford at this time.
    ————-
    The Supreme Court does this all the time, and we go on. Now maybe the scope and extent of this particular law is so large that what you say is true here, but theoretically the court does this exact maneuver every time they declare a signed law unconstitutional.
    I have no idea whether the conservatives on the Robert’s court are as sharp as you are about future consequences, so I am quite nervous. If they do undermine this forced private buying law, I stand behind the spectacle post I wrote earlier.
    BTW, I cannot think of any previous law where the Federal government forced EVERYONE to buy something from a private, for-profit company under the penalty of law. Therefore, the question of legality seems real to me!

  13. I know it is hard to admit that there might be a portion of the law that is unpopular. It’s OK. I’m under the impression that elections matter not polls. A majority of your fellow Democrats probably voted this down to pass by such a high margin. That and it’s widely unpopular among R’s are the take home points.
    I’d like to see your statistics about threats on Bush and Obama, because at this point it looks like conjecture and hypersensitivity on your part. Blaming Race is an easy crutch, but a more likely scenario if anxiety levels actually are higher during this administration is Americans are annoyed by incompetence, but they are truly frightened by arrogance.

  14. Maggie,
    2nd point. Civil War? Really? You think Democrats are going to lead an insurrection if the individual mandate is ruled unconstitutional. We can worry about alot of things, that isn’t one of them. An army of prius driving urbanites doesn’t strike fear into me or anyone else. The next liberal that I meet that I am truly in fear of, will be the first one. If the Supreme Court hears such a case it will be because they feel it has merit. The Supreme Court was not formed to worry about “undercutting” the other two branches. It is to be a check on them. What constitutional crisis would it be if it ruled against the mandate? That they were following the Constitution under their interpretation. That hardly seems like a crisis. Who knows what’s going to happen, but I would lay odds against a 3rd battle of Manassas.

  15. NG, Jenga
    NG–
    You and I agree that if the Supreme Court tried to overturn a piece of legislation of this size, we would face something very ugly–probably a version of a constitutional crisis.
    It would be unprecedented. Usuallly when the court overturns a law, it’s either a state law or a federal law passed some time in the past.
    I can’t think of a time when the Court overturned legislation that was the cornerstone of a sitting president’s policy–and a policy that the party that enjoyed a majority in Congress had just soundly endorsed. . .
    That’s why this would be akin to the Court declaring civil rights legislation unconstitutional under Johnson, or declaring Social Security unconstitutional under FDR.
    Finally, constitutional scholars who don’t have an axe to grind (who just aren’t politically engaged in the health care fight) say this just isn’t an issue under the law–not even close.
    Jegna–
    In response to your most recent comment:
    You’re right, you don’t have to worry about an army of prius-driving urbanites.
    Those who will be most helped by health care reform are low-income and working class people, particuarly minorities who are now closed out of the system.
    Were you around for the urban riots of the 1960s?
    Today, this country is pushing class divisions to a point that
    the poor might once again take to the streets.
    Keep in mind that the demographics have changed. As the 2008 election revealed,African Americans, Latinos, and new immigrants –combined with young, very progressive Americans– are becoming the majority in this country.
    In response to your question about assasinations, just Goggle “Obama” and “assasination threats” and “Bush,” and you’ll find much evidnece.
    If memory serves, assasination threats are up 400%.
    Of course, this might have nothing to do with racism.
    But when it comes to arrogance . . .lying to the American people in order to draw us into a war that would cost the lives of so many young men and women–and having the hutzpah to delcare the war “won” years ago, standing on an aircraft carrier, decked out in military gear that Bush never actually wore in a real battle-field
    That is arrogance.

  16. It’s not incompetence and it’s nor arrogance that angers people right now. It’s the Economy. It is always the Economy. If we were in the midst of a nice recovery, many of the “angry” would be quite content even if the President was turquoise in appearance.
    There are people in this country that are overtly racist, and even more that are covertly so, and they were never happy with a black President. That has nothing to do with health care and has not and will not change any time soon. It does have to do with the hell bent drive to take this administration down no matter what the costs to the nation as a whole.
    I don’t think people will take to the streets because of health insurance reform, but they will take to the streets if this recession continues and if the recovery is restricted to the wealthy. The class formerly known as “middle” is quickly becoming impoverished by American standards, and the previously poor are now destitute. If we don’t have an equitable recovery, there will be trouble down the road and the inability to obtain medical care may very well become the poster child of the discontent. They won’t be driving cute little Toyotas either.

  17. Margalit–
    I agree: right now the public is upset about the economy and high unemployment.
    Those will be the issues that drive votes in November–not heatlhcare.
    But if the Republicans manage to gain control and
    kill healthcare reform (or undermine the legislation so that it’s no longer doable) that will add to the anger.
    If conservatives have enough votes in Congress they will continue the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. More fuel on the fire.

  18. Maggie,
    A lot of points, first on threats. Your suggested google search, I’m simply not going into my computer for many reasons, but what you are looking for is this.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-5879268-503544.html
    In which current Secret Service director Mark Sullivan states that threats against the president are no more than they were during Clinton or Bush and the 400% claims are false, under Oath before Congess. Some images are disgusting, but are no worse than any Bush endured. Bush even had an assasination film in 2006. Remember that? We can go tit for tat on images, but that is a dark place I would rather not go.
    Second, the issue is invalidating a small portion of reform, the mandate, in which even Obama way back in 2008 said was not vital forreform. Hardly, reversing a legacy if he himself stated that it was not important. All in all, it doesn’t matter how many constitutional lawyers you quote or how many missourians vote, what matters is the 9 justices if they take up the matter. The recent vote makes that (addressing the mandate) more likely and it gives us a gauge on the electorate.
    Third, the talk of violence and insurrection, sound like fear mongering or many liberals would accuse of the “tea baggers” as you so eloquently put it. No one is going to start sacking towns, over a law that is implimented in 4 years, if they eliminate citizen’s being forced to buy a plan with a private company by simply being born. Particularly when you couple that with his campaign statements.
    Third, I agree with Margalit’s statement about the economy. A good economy makes the issue of arrogance and incompetence melt away.
    Margalit- apologies, I should have thrown in Honda’s as well. LOL

  19. Jenga–
    Not sure why you’re not willing to “go into your computer” to Google and find evidence for your argument (or discover that your argument is wrong)
    Of course the Secret Service director is not going to publicly acknoweldge that assasination attempts are way up. If somone in his positions said that it would only encourage more threats.
    The Supreme Court will not stike down the mandate, for all of the reasons I explained.
    This is all political theatre, nothing more.

  20. So the director of the Secret Service would lie under oath? Before Congess? That’s positively silly. You are accusing him of perjury and possibly treason, since Congess has the means to appropriate additional funds and manpower if such claims were true. He debunked the 400% claim. I have proven my claim, you didn’t prove yours.
    Theatre? Get your popcorn ready.

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