Missouri votes against “right” to forced insurance purchase

August 8, 2010

In a referendum passed by Missouri voters Tuesday, the public overwhelmingly rejected the key component of the health care overhaul passed by both houses of Congress last year. Proposition C, which received a “Yes” vote of 71%, prevents the federal government from forcing Missouri citizens to purchase health insurance under penalty of law. The idea was originally proposed by state Republicans as an amendment to the state constitution, but was switched to a ballot initiative after Democrats threatened a filibuster. Statutes of a similar nature have been passed by legislatures in five states already, and two more will vote on similar state constitutional amendments in November. Also, lawsuits have been filed against the new rules by public officials in over a dozen states who claim that the law is unconstitutional.

The viewpoint of those who support the new law demanding the universal purchase of insurance was summed up by Kathy Ward, a Missouri nurse who was quoted in an Associated Press article about the recent referendum: “The fact remains”, she said. “People have a right to health care, and they should get it. It helps to make a healthier society.” It is uncertain, though, how forcing an individual to purchase a certain product results in the granting or preservation of any such right.

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