Obamacare faced voters for the first time on Tuesday — and was diagnosed as seriously ill.
By 71 percent to 29 percent, Missouri voters approved a referendum to invalidate any Obamacare mandate to purchase health insurance and any penalty for not doing so. Proposition C reflects growing momentum to repeal Obamacare, an increasingly unpopular federal sinkhole that the American people do not want and numerous state and federal officials are working sedulously to reverse.
Obamacare’s latest defeat did not occur in Mississippi, Utah, or some other right-wing bastion. Instead, it happened in Missouri, a swing state that then-senator Barack Obama of neighboring Illinois lost by just 3,903 votes in 2008.
Rather than accept responsibility for Tuesday’s setback, Democrats — typically — are faulting Republicans. “The numbers are totally distorted because of the lopsided turnout,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) told the Associated Press, blaming heavy GOP voter participation. Of course, this coin’s flip side features Democrats so ho-hum about Obamacare that they failed to defend it.
Indeed, Obamacare’s performance lagged that of Obama himself in Missouri’s major Democratic cities. While Obama won 83.7 percent of St. Louis’s ballots in November 2008, Obamacare secured just 58.9 percent of that metropolis’s votes on Tuesday. In Kansas City, the analogous figures were 78.4 percent and 56.5 percent. Thus, even in key urban centers, Democrats are cooling on Obamacare.
The day before the Missouri vote, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson ruled that Virginia may proceed with its lawsuit to overturn Obamacare’s individual mandate to acquire medical coverage. The Justice Department now must defend Obamacare in court.
“Unquestionably, this regulation radically changes the landscape of health insurance coverage in America,” Hudson wrote in his 32-page opinion. “While this case raises a host of complex constitutional issues, all seem to distill to the single question of whether or not Congress has the power to regulate — and tax — a citizen’s decision not to participate in interstate commerce,” Judge Hudson added. “No reported case from any federal appellate court has extended the Commerce Clause or Tax Clause to include the regulation of a person’s decision not to purchase a product, notwithstanding its effect on interstate commerce.”
As Virginia attorney general Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, who prevailed in this case, observed, “The government cannot draft an unwilling citizen into commerce just so it can regulate him under the Commerce Clause.”
Obamacare’s mandate redefines the individual’s relationship to Washington, D.C. If it can compel Americans to buy health insurance, why can’t it force each American to join a gym or eat a bran muffin every morning?
A constituent of Rep. Pete Stark (D., Calif.) asked him at a June town-hall meeting, “If this legislation is constitutional, what limitations are there on the federal government’s ability to tell us how to run our private lives?”
Stark’s answer encapsulated Obamacare’s underlying statist philosophy: “The federal government can, yes, do most anything in this country.”
Twenty different state attorneys general are in court battling Obamacare’s defining ideology, as embodied in the individual mandate.