In what Republicans are calling a stunning rebuke of President Obama's health care reform law, Missouri voters, by nearly a 3 to 1 margin, approved a measure barring the government from forcing people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. The campaign to pass Missouri's Proposition C was just the first effort by conservatives to muster political support for dismantling the Democratic proposal — three other states, Arizona, Florida, and Oklahoma, plan to hold similar votes. But experts say ultimately it may be up to the courts to decide whether the health-insurance requirement takes effect nationally in 2014, as scheduled. How much does the Missouri vote matter? (Watch a Fox News report about states' health care fight)
This could be the beginning of the end for Obamacare: Obama and his fellow Democrats won't listen to Republicans, but they can't tune out "the overwhelmingly expressed will of the people," says Kevin O'Brien in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. The Missouri vote is proof that Americans "hate" Obamacare, "and they want it undone." If GOP candidates make "repeal ObamaCare" their battle cry in the midterm election campaign, they'll win big — spelling doom for "the takeover of America's health care system by the federal government."
"Let other states take up Missouri's battle cry against Obamacare"
Sorry, conservatives, Missouri's vote is meaningless: "This is really a bunch of sound and fury about nothing," says Nick Baumann at Mother Jones. The Affordable Care Act is federal law, and no state can "just choose to disobey it." The truth of the matter is that public opposition to health-care reform is declining. So after they're finished celebrating, GOPers might want to return to the "real world," where "Missouri's Prop C isn't even going to scratch health care reform, let alone stop it.
"The Missouri health care vote"
This proves the GOP has the momentum: Maybe Proposition C was "largely symbolic," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, but at least the resounding victory exposes the White House's lie that Obamacare is getting more popular with voters. Even many Democrats would vote to repeal the law. If this can happen in a key swing state like Missouri, it's time for Dems to "hit the panic button."
"Missouri pops the Obamacare-media bubble"
The message isn't as clear as Republicans say: Don't exaggerate the significance of this vote, say the editors of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It was hardly a fair sampling of opinion — Republicans had contested primaries, Democrats didn't, so GOP voters outnumbered Democrats at the polls by nearly 2 to 1. In reality, more than 70 percent of Americans approve of key Democratic reforms, such as preventing insurers from denying coverage over pre-existing conditions, and giving small businesses tax credits to provide coverage for their workers. That's not exactly a national cry for repeal.
"A muffled 'megaphone' on health care reform"