For many months now, I have been hearing many myths about Obamacare in Missouri, which compels me to deal with them. The first one I want to deal with is this one:Speaker Timothy Jones is one of many that say this. For instance, Jones told a reporter earlier this year: "that Missouri voters have repeatedly come out against the federal Affordable Care Act. The Missouri Health Care Freedom Act, also known as Prop C, which passed with more than 70 percent in a statewide vote in 2010." [ http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/elizabeth-crisp/jones-challenges-nixon-to-take-medicaid-expansion-to-ballot/article_d730286a-0436-5026-b412-7f7a10d614f0.html ]
source for this is a vote Missouri took in a primary back in August 2010.
There are at least two major problems with the claim that Missourians voted overwhelmingly against "the federal Affordable Care Act."
First, the referendum on the ballot in August 2010, was NOT a referendum on the entire Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare, as it is now called by shorthand). It was not a referendum on the whole law, almost 1,000 pages long. It was only a referendum on the so-called "individual mandate." The ballot measure was designed to amend current Missouri law to deny the federal government authority to "penalize citizens for refusing to purchase private health insurance or infringe upon the right to offer or accept direct payment for lawful healthcare services." A "no" vote was a vote to reject the proposed referendum. [http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Missouri_Proposition_C_(2010),_full_text ] Obviously legal scholars felt this law was symbolic and could not have standing, due to the supremacy clause.
Second, the ballot was put on a primary ballot, and not on the general election ballot. This was done on purpose. The Democrats in the Missouri Legislature purposely filibustered this referendum, making sure that is was not put on the general election, for fear that it would drive up turnout in a general election year, when there was a contested and open Senate seat. They ended the filibuster when the Republicans agreed to put the ballot initiative on the primary election ballot. Since the Republican Senate race was more contested than the Democrat race, more Republicans turned out than Democrats. In general these days Missourians are trending towards about a 54-44% republican advantage, as they did in the 2012 election. If that was the turnout in August 2010, when instead Republicans outnumbered Democrats 64-34% in the Senate primary, then instead of the ballot measure losing 29-71%, it would have lost 38-62%.
Obviously that is still a significant loss for this part of Obamacare. However, if you look at national polls taken about the INDIVIDUAL MANDATE portion of Obamacare only, which is the ONLY provision that was on the ballot in August 2010 in Missouri, the Kaiser Commission's polls show that nationally the mandate is only favored by 34% of the country, opposed by the other 66% of the country. [ http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/upload/8339-C.pdf ] Remarkably that is almost exactly the opinion shown above if a more balanced turnout had occurred, or not that far from the 29-71% actual vote on Proposition C itself.
So, in sum Proposition C was never a vote on "Obamacare" as a whole -- it was a vote on the least popular part of Obamacare, the individual mandate. And it was not a vote of the whole voting age population, just a skewed subset of voters who turned out in a primary.
In : Missouri
Tags: "missouri" "obamacare" "aca" "mandate"