It's hard to get more than 70 percent of Americans to agree on anything, but 71 percent of Missourians voted yesterday for a referendum opposing the centerpiece of President Obama's signature legislative initiative. In the first official vote by the American public on Obamacare, Show-Me state voters showed President Obama they don't much like Obamacare's individual mandate – that all Americans must buy health insurers' product under penalty of law.
Furthermore, the referendum opposed having government "infringe upon the right to offer or accept direct payment for lawful healthcare service." For individuals in the market, Obamacare would make insurance policies illegal that involve having people paying their doctor for more than a certain percentage of their care out of pocket. Obamacare would require that this money instead be funneled through a middleman, the insurer, with prices predictably rising as a result. In all, Obamacare would funnel $1 trillion in its real first decade (2014 to 2023) from American taxpayers, through the federal government, to private insurers – according to Congressional Budget Office projections.
Obamacare could not function without its individual mandate – as its proponents have repeatedly admitted – because younger, healthier people would then opt out, and Obamacare's mandate that insurers cover all comers, without charging them an actuarially viable rate, would then send costs even higher in the sky. So this vote is a big one, sending a resounding symbolic message about the overhaul's cornerstone requirement.
It's also a major indicator of trouble to come for the Democrats, who lost this vote by 42 percentage points despite, in the Hill's words, "their nonstop efforts to sell [Obamacare's] benefits over the past four months." Obamacare supporters have tried to marginalize this vote as having been driven by Missouri voters' greater interest in this year's Republican primaries than in Democratic ones, but they mostly seem to have the cart in front of the horse. An AP report from Jefferson City conveys that "About 23 percent of Missouri voters turned out for Tuesday's primary elections" and that "The biggest draw was Proposition C."