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Tilting at Windmills

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August 4, 2010

DOG BITES MAN -- MISSOURI REPUBLICANS DON'T LIKE HEALTH CARE REFORM.... As with the procedural court decision in Virginia this week, conservatives will probably be inclined to see yesterday's vote on Proposition C in Missouri as an important development. But as with Virginia, it's really not.

Missouri voters on Tuesday easily approved a measure aimed at nullifying the new federal health care law, becoming the first state in the nation where ordinary people made known their dismay over the issue at the ballot box.

The measure was intended to invalidate a crucial element of President Obama's health care law -- namely, that most people be required to get health insurance or pay a tax penalty. Supporters of the measure said it would send a firm signal to Washington about how this state, often a bellwether in presidential elections, felt about such a law. [...]

The referendum, known as Proposition C, was seen as a first look at efforts by conservatives to gather and rally their forces over the issue. In the end, though, the referendum seemed not to capture the general population's attention. Instead, Republican primary voters (who had the most competitive races on Tuesday) appeared to play a crucial role in the vote's fate.

If this was about "sending a signal," then we've learned a valuable lesson -- Republican primary voters in a "red" state are inclined to believe right-wing rhetoric about the Affordable Care Act. Wait, did I say "valuable" lesson? I meant, "painfully obvious."

Yesterday was a primary day in Missouri. There were no major Democratic contests, and reform proponents in organized labor and the health care community made almost no effort to rally voters in opposition to the ballot measure. As a result, roughly two-thirds of those participating were Republican primary voters -- making the outcome quite predictable.

As for the practical implications of this, state voters can't invalidate a federal law. For that matter, courts will likely have weighed in on the subject of the individual mandate -- which was, by the way, a Republican idea -- before it takes effect in 2014.

All told, this was a symbolic "victory" that everyone saw coming, and which will have no meaningful effect on the policy itself.

Steve Benen 10:10 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (33)

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Comments

*Yawn*

Posted by: Gridlock on August 4, 2010 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Typical screwball NYT reporting. In the lede it says it is a vote by "ordinary people" and then later explains it is mostly republican die-hards. But, of course, the lede is what will stick.

Posted by: martin on August 4, 2010 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

As a Missourian, I'm kinda embarassed.

We had two state-level candidates who spent months trying to prove who was the bigger rightwing, rigid, inflexible ideologue, along with this ballot measure (which brought out Teh Crazee).

The thing is, I'm not sure all who voted "Yes" understood what it meant. The wording was purposefully confusing, vague, and easy to not understand for those who don't pay all that much attention.

There will definitely be a court challenge, probably as soon as the next few days -- at least I hope the opposition was prepared for this and has its shit together.

But who the hell knows in this state ...

Posted by: Mark D on August 4, 2010 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Ooh boy. Get ready for the media onslaught about "real Americans" and "grass roots efforts" about getting rid of "socialist healthcare."

Doesn't matter if it's rubbish. Never does.

They've got a meme to push, and now they've got some ammunition. SSDD.

Posted by: terraformer on August 4, 2010 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Missouri is the next Arkansas. Show me regression.

Posted by: shortstop on August 4, 2010 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Man, what a trainload full of fail.

The measure is probably invalid on technical grounds since it contains two unrelated provisions. It's also invalid because Federal law supersedes it. And even if it passed those two hurdles, its main effect would be to put the insurance companies out of business (due to the free riders who would take advantage of the rest of HCR) and pave the way for single payer.

The enormous stupidity of the measure itself is only surpassed by the cluelessness of the MSM in reporting the whole moronic business. Far from being a strike against HCR as a whole, this highlights the unpopularity of something Republicans thought up and insurance companies demanded.

People, if you want to end those lovely pre-existing conditions exclusions and coverage recisions, and if you want a workable community ratings pricing system, (which believe me, you do), then you can either pick single payer or have a mandate. Take your pick.

Posted by: jimBOB on August 4, 2010 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

I am currently living in Missouri and proudly voted no on Prop C yesterday. However, I seem to recall during the debates prior to passage of health care reform that individual states could opt out of the plan. Was this regarding the individual mandate or the whole plan, or am I misunderstanding this aspect of the bill?

Posted by: James at home on August 4, 2010 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Victory like success at one time had a tangible coordination . So the sense , or meaning , that followed a logical predictable pattern could be understood . Now a days without the secret society handshake , or a code that triggers a counter intuitive reaction to otherwise understandable conventional terms , the risible affectations of our privileged right wing elites hold a sashaying sway . One can only dream of what perversity the urge to impoverish those whose only crime is to be born into a poor home finds as its moral dignity .

Posted by: FRP on August 4, 2010 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

And even if it passed those two hurdles, its main effect would be to put the insurance companies out of business (due to the free riders who would take advantage of the rest of HCR) and pave the way for single payer.

This.

The individual mandate was originally a Republican idea as a counterproposal to single payer - it was a way to fix health insurance within a market framework. If it fails the alternative isn't something that the insurance companies will be happy with.

Posted by: NonyNony on August 4, 2010 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

I live in Missouri is a 50/50 state and over 2/3 of votes cast in primaries here were for Republicans despite the Dems having a Carnahan at the top of the ticket in their primary. Usually the Dems have the edge in primaries here even in GOP years. I guess the Dems can still say "Stanley there is no enthusiasm gap" between the GOP and the Dems.

Posted by: Kevin on August 4, 2010 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

This was a primary election. If there were separate republican and democratic ballots as I'm accustomed to, somebody should be able to say more precisely who voted for this.

Posted by: cr on August 4, 2010 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

It's good to be reminded that this vote should not be taken as more than a symbolic bird flipped in the direction of Washington by primarily Republican-registered voters. And that the measure was nothing but obscurantist drivel.

Just the same, strong pushback is tempting. Court action is fine, but in the spirit of looking back toward the Good Ole Days, a favorite stance of the GOP, we ought to ponder WWJD (What Would Jackson [as in Old Hickory] Do?).

For guidance in this matter, interested Republicans should consult Richardson, ed., Messages and Papers..., vol. 2, p.640 et seq., for Jackson's riposte to the South Carolinian Nullifiers of '32. I doubt that President Obama woud like to string up any particular Missouri demagogue "as high as Haman," though.

Posted by: docdave on August 4, 2010 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Nullification of federal law was a central philosophical tenet of the Confederacy and the entire system of Jim Crow. The Republican party seems to be adopting nullification as a central philosophical tenet today.

Secession? Nullification? States rights? The Republican platform in the 1860 election was to preserve the Union. The Republican platform in 2010 seems to disfavor the Union, or, at least, disrespecting it.

Posted by: jpeckjr on August 4, 2010 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Is the vote evidence of many, many Scared White Folk in Missouri? -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on August 4, 2010 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

First...life expectancy in Missouri is only 76.8 years number 38 of 50 states. Cuba, Chile and France have longer life spans 78.3, 78.8 and 80.5 years

So before these Republicans reject health care, perhaps they should think first. The life they save may be their own.

2nd NPR has a nice interview with Katherine Sebelius about Heath care yesterday. and that was it. she and the rest of the admin need to do more of this...

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on August 4, 2010 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Very good. That two-thirds of the vote being Republican is something I should have dug up myself.

Posted by: 4jkb4ia on August 4, 2010 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

I am what most people would categorize as a progressive, and I wish I could have an opportunity to express my disapproval of the individual mandate at the ballot box through a state referendum.

The ONLY REASON the individual mandate exists is to protect the profits of the for-profit insurance corporations at public expense.

The individual mandate is what we got in return for the Democrats putting single-payer off the table from the start and then the Senate Democrats putting a public option off the table. What a sweet deal. Not.

It's a Republican idea, it's an insurance corporation idea, it's a bad idea, and it represents a fundamentally WRONG direction for health care policy in the USA.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 4, 2010 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Not sure about your whistling-past-the-graveyard, "you'll get health care 'reform' good and hard" attitude.

Michael Tanner points out that 40,000 Democrats -- that's 1 in 8 -- voted for this measure. That's Democrat PRIMARY voters.

Everyone knows it isn't legally binding in any meaningful sense. That wasn't the point -- and the Dems in MO know this, since they made sure this vote didn't happen in November.

Posted by: Jana H on August 4, 2010 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

"this state, often a bellwether in presidential elections."

just wanna remind folks that this "bellwether state" voted for mccain in 08

Posted by: dj spellchecka on August 4, 2010 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Just stay away from my Medicare, and get off my lawn!

Posted by: Trollop on August 4, 2010 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

jana: Michael Tanner points out that 40,000 Democrats -- that's 1 in 8 -- voted for this measure.

That's a little higher than the normal ten-percent-wingers who will complain about any idea, even good ones, if it's not THEIR idea.

Posted by: cr on August 4, 2010 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

The leftwingers here whining about Missouri voters overwhelmingly passing Prop C yesterday are great humor. On one hand they say "this doesn't mean anything" then they next say it does and then complains about it.

Posted by: Kevin on August 4, 2010 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

@jana

Could you supply a link to that "1 in 8" number?

Posted by: cr on August 4, 2010 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

The NHQR ranking for Missouri paints a different situation of health care in that state:

Too bad the citizens of Missouri are being grossly mislead on what the real stakes are for health care reform in the US.

Posted by: Touch on August 4, 2010 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

"The ONLY REASON the individual mandate exists is to protect the profits of the for-profit insurance corporations at public expense."

The mandate exists for two reasons. One, to offset the potential loopholes created by the ACA's "preexisting conditions" rules. Two, because progressive politicians like John Edwards and Ted Kennedy demanded it. It was common for progressives at one point to describe the mandate as "universal health care".

The republicans had absolutely zero influence on the inclusion of the mandate in the ACA; the mandate was in two of three health care proposals of the Democratic presidential candidates before the ACA even became a bill which the Republicans or insurance companies could comment on. It was included because Democrats and progressives, by and large, ranged from wanting it to having no objections to it.

"I am what most people would categorize as a progressive, and I wish I could have an opportunity to express my disapproval of the individual mandate at the ballot box through a state referendum."

Then what is stopping you? Many states have some kind of ballot referendum system. Failing that there are local referendum systems, and even failing that at the local government level one can often persuade county boards, city councils or party offices to pass symbolic resolutions of one kind or another. And as this story demonstrates, you will not have to work on your own. There is a real, sizable bloc of opposition and organizing against the mandate, driven by the tea party. Why aren't you joining them? You don't have to wish. You could potentially make something like proposition C happen.

Here's the thing. I don't think the yelly people showing up on blogs claiming to be progressives opposed to the mandate actually ARE opposed to the mandate. I think that, actually much like the Republicans, they're simply opposed to the ACA and/or the mainstream Democrats for unrelated reasons, and are attacking the mandate because it's the easiest target for demagoguery. I think you can see some of this in that the opposition to the mandate was impossible to find from any part of the political spectrum back when there was still time to stop the mandate; but in the case of the self-proclaimed progressives, you can see this most clearly in that they're not trying to do anything to stop the mandate NOW. At least the Republicans are trying to act on what they claim are their principles.

If you actually mean any of this blog comment posturing, *what are you going to do about it*?

Posted by: mcc on August 4, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

mcc wrote: "the opposition to the mandate was impossible to find from any part of the political spectrum back when there was still time to stop the mandate"

In your personal attack on my motives and my sincerity, for expressing an opinion which differs from yours, that remark stands out as a blatant falsehood.

There was plenty of opposition to the individual mandate from progressives from the time it was proposed, including on this very blog.

See also:

The Thirty Year History Of Republicans Supporting the Individual Mandate
dcprogressive.org
03/08/2010

In fact, says Len Nichols of the New America Foundation, the individual mandate was originally a Republican idea. “It was invented by Mark Pauly to give to George Bush Sr. back in the day, as a competition to the employer mandate focus of the Democrats at the time.”…

“We called this responsible national health insurance,” says Pauly. “There was a kind of an ethical and moral support for the notion that people shouldn’t be allowed to free-ride on the charity of fellow citizens.”

The policy was originally included in many Republican proposals including the proposals during the Clinton administration. The leading GOP alternative plan known as the 1994 Consumer Choice Health Security Act included the requirement to purchase insurance. Further, this proposal was based off of a 1990 Heritage Foundation proposal outlined a quality health system where “government would require, by law every head of household to acquire at least a basic health plan for his or her family.”

You may now return to personal attacks on the integrity of progressives who disagree with you.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 4, 2010 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

I wish I could remember the exact wording of Prop c on the ballot but it sounded more like a right wing talking point than an unbiased initiative. Something about do you object to individuals being "penalized" (italicized on the ballot)by this individual mandate the costs of which can not be predicted (or something to that effect). One polling station had "Republican party", "Libertarian party", and then "Democrat party"...not democratic party but "Democrat".

Not one republican I spoke with even understood how the individual mandate worked. You aren't "penalized" if you don't have HC ins., you just don't get a tax cut. I compare it to saying I am "penalized" for being single because I don't get the same tax deduction as a married couple.

Voter turnout was extremely poor because most of the competitive races were among repubs. (btw...repub candidates didn't list party affiliation on their signs and plus their signs were all on blue background. It's like the Nazi troops burning their uniforms and now calling themselves tea baggers). Repub candidates in MO are all liars and cons...auctioneer/real estate kings just as empty headed on policy as they come.

CREW has listed Roy Blunt on its top ten list of most corrupt members of congress for a decade now.

His son was run out as governor of MO. This is a state where it is easier to believe the propaganda because it requires no effort to actually learn or research anything...a big example of the dumbing down of America where prayer replaces action and responsibility. A horrible time for democratic complacency which will allow the crazies to get into office.

I do wish the democratic party would challenge this prop-c initiative because of the way it was worded on the ballot.

Posted by: bjobotts on August 4, 2010 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist: As your link shows, Republicans either supported or ignored the mandate for years, until after the Senate bill passed and they found themselves fishing around for an excuse to oppose the bill. Similarly, progressives as a bloc supported or ignored the mandate for years, until after the Senate bill passed and certain people, angry that we lost the battle on the public option, found themselves fishing around for an excuse to oppose the bill. The mandate is something that all sides of the political spectrum have supported at one time or another, only in some cases to turn on it as soon as it became politically convenient. I notice you can't produce anything to contradict this.

Anyway yes, I'm attacking your integrity. Because it looks to me like you're LYING. You say the mandate was put in to protect insurance company profits; it was put in to prevent young healthy people from buying into the insurance system only after they got sick, a problem made serious by the ACA's preexisting conditions provisions. You can't explain how we prevent people from using the preexisting protections provisions to cheat in the absence of something like a mandate. You say that there has been progressive opposition to the mandate "from the time it was proposed", but progressives adopted the mandate way back in 2007 and meaningful opposition to mandate in the HCR bill flipped on like a light switch only in December of 2009 after the health care bill passed. You don't offer anything to contradict this timeline. Look, here's progressive Paul Krugman vigorously defending the mandate in February of 2008; don't you have even a perfunctory example of serious resistance to the mandate from back when there was still time to do something about it? Because I don't think you're going to find anyone except marginalized, ignored blog commenters, or things written around or after December of 2009.

Basically, you don't seem to care if any of your smears against health care reform are true, but then you get huffy when people question your integrity. You know what a good way to defend your integrity is? Not making stuff up!

Posted by: mcc on August 4, 2010 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

bjobotts:I think you may find the proposition C article at Ballotpedia intresting. Basically, there has already been a lawsuit against proposition C, and it lost. That lawsuit mostly concerned the "single subject" rule and Ballotpedia says there are still opportunities to challenge the ballot language after passage, but the judge's statements on prop C in the original case don't sound very promising.

Posted by: mcc on August 4, 2010 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: mcc on August 4, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Thanks. Learn something everyday...now if I just had a better memory.

Posted by: bjobotts on August 4, 2010 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

btw...I support a mandate because it is the only fair way to spread out the risk and the cost. Eveytime I hear people complain about Medicare going broke etc I tell them that's because it only covers those who are disabled or elderly which have the highest health costs.

People complain about what Medicare doesn't cover but I say that if everyone had Medicare the cost would be spread out enough so even dental coverage would be included. It could be implemented within 3 mos and cover everyone with everyone having a say in how it should operate.

It is so obvious as the answer to our healthcare needs that only selfish greed prevents it from being law. These half measures like the individual mandate etc is so unnecessary when we have the solution slapping us in the face. One day the majority will insist the obstructionist minority come to their senses.

Posted by: bjobotts on August 4, 2010 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK
Missouri voters are 71% Republicans?! Really Steve?

Nice to see you so dismissive of the voice of the people... typical elitist.

Posted by: HoweeCarr

No. 71% of the voters IN THIS PARTICULAR ELECTION were voters.

Nice to see you (and the other trolls who have showed up) showing your lack of reading comprehension ... typical dumbfuck wingnut trolls.

Out of curiosity, how many of you oppose car insurance being forced on everyone? What about seatbelt laws? Laws about car seats for kids?

Because it seems to me that if you all are whining and complaining about the individual mandate, you should complain about those laws as well.

I know, I know ... ideological consistency isn't the right's thing. But still, it'd be nice if you all could bother to explain that one.

(And while your at it: Why is a conservative idea so hated by conservatives?

Posted by: Mark D on August 4, 2010 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking as a transplanted Democrat living in this bullshit state (Missouri), it still pisses me off. I have entire city streets where I can count the number of teeth in the mouths of these people on two hands, and these idiots don't want "no government telling them what to do." Like brushing, apparently.

Posted by: Andrew on August 4, 2010 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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