On one of the hottest days in Missouri, voters showed up in droves Tuesday, showing more interest in casting their ballot for or against Proposition C, than to vote for primary election candidates. The end result: Missourians resoundingly supported Proposition C – which rejects President Obama’s new health care law’s “individual mandate,” requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance. State Sen. Jane Cunningham, who sponsored the referendum – also known as Health Care Freedom Act (HB1764) – credits the Tea Party movement and citizen groups with the victory, and hopes the vote will send a loud and clear message to Washington, D.C.
Joe Ortwerth, executive director of the Missouri Family Policy Council, said, “Missourians, with their show-me skepticism, have already seen enough of what this health plan is going to shape-up to be in the degree to which it will regulate their personal decision making and their personal choices about health care.”
More than 71.1 percent of Missourians voted to “deny the 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 health care services.”
According to the Secretary of State’s office, a total of 667,680 Missouri voters backed Proposition C – more than was cast for all the candidates running for the U.S. Senate. More than 44,000 votes for the referendum were cast by Democrats. 39,998 voters did not cast ballots in any party’s primary for Senate, yet voted on Proposition C statewide referendum.
“This was a citizens’ bill from the beginning to the end. They came when the discussion started in Washington, D.C., and asked for relief from what was being proposed,” Cunningham said. “Citizen and patriot groups joined together in a very decentralized, disorganized way; but, it was the best campaign I have ever witnessed in my entire life.”
Activist Annette Read, who organized the ballot effort, told The Associated Press, “To us, it symbolized everything. . . The entire frustration in the country how our government has misspent, how they haven’t listened to the people, this measure in general encompassed all of that.”
“I think it’s going to start a domino effect around the country,” said Cunningham, “especially with other states that have it on their Nov. ballot.” Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma will hold similar referendum votes on Nov. 2.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who helped push the bill through Congress, disregarded the vote, stating, “It’s very obvious that people have a lack of understanding of our health care reform bill.”
“Missourians come from a background and a belief that people ought to be able to exercise their individual freedoms, that our government is supposed to respect and acknowledge those freedoms and allow people to make their own choices and decisions in life,” Ortwerth said. “Missouri is a very strongly pro-life state, always has been. And is not in any way going to agree with or ratify a philosophy in this health care plan that is very anti-life and very anti-family.”