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Despite Missouri, Nullification Efforts Failing Across the Country


Health care nullification forces scored a symbolic victory in Missouri yesterday as voters supported a ballot initiative to block the individual mandate portion of the federal health care law. But it was a primary electorate dominated by GOP primary voters-- and the real story is how isolated this victory has been for the repeal forces.

Early in the year, groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) announced that dozens of states were introducing legislation to repeal "Obamacare." Yet aside from a handful of states, they were defeated across the country. 26 states and counting have rejected health care nullification, while even the most right-wing state governments are moving forward on implementing the new law for the benefit of their citizens, as documented at See the map of failure after the jump.


(States highlighted in blue have enacted health care nullification bills. States highlighted in gray have approved ballot measures attempting to nullify health care which require approval by voters later this year.)

ALEC style bills or proposed constitutional amendments have failed in Alabama,Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas,Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi,Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota,Tennessee, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

In Louisiana, Gov. Jindal signed into law a symbolic measure (HB 1474) that specifically states "No provision in this Section shall be interpreted or held to supercede any provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010... or any other federal law."

In other states where ALEC has claimed success, such as Montana and Texas, health care nullification bills have yet to even be introduced.

At the same time the right wing is focused on grandstanding and political gamesmanship, legislators and officials in all 50 states are moving forward with the hard work of planning the effective implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the state level. Many of these efforts began well before the passing and signing of federal reform, and will accelerate as responsible leaders in the states focus on delivering quality, affordable health care to their constituents.

ALEC and its allies claimed a goal of defeating Obamacare in 26 states where they've been defeated. If they are going to own victory in Missouri, they should own up to defeat in all the other states as well.


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You are right that the Missouri primary was dominated by Republican voters, but more importantly, the Missouri vote is utterly meaningless. Turnout was abysmal meaning the vote is about as representative of statewide sentiments in Missouri as if you stood on the corner in Knobnoster, MO and asked 5 people coming out of the local tea party meeting how they felt about this question. Additionally, the Democrats in typical lazy, foolish fashion didn't lift a finger to oppose this irresponsible and unconstitutional attempt at nullification allowing Republicans a completely unchallenged campaign of lies and typical disinformation.

The disgraceful reintroduction of the idea of nullification of federal laws by the states on the part of extremist Republican hacks needs to be met forcefully and without hesitation by Democrats everywhere. This is the sort of extremist approach that metastasizes when left unaddressed.


The disgraceful reintroduction of the idea of nullification of federal laws by the states on the part of extremist Republican hacks needs to be met forcefully and without hesitation by Democrats everywhere

Then allow me to give you some weaponry. ;-)

I JUST read it on HuffPo in the comments.

Try this:
Click on the segment link that says: Sen. DeMint fear-mongering with tax threat?

It takes you to Lawrence O'Donnell subbing on The Ed Show reading the actual language in the health care law that says there can NOT be any penalty or levy against anyone who does not register for health care. You gotta' watch it. It's priceless. O'Donnell used to write this stuff as a Senate staffer. And tell your neighbors. ;-)


I just found the same show on YouTube. Lawrence O'Donnell is great. ;-)


Just to second and maybe amplify Oleeb's comment. Turnout was a bit over 22%, which is, of course, what the proponents of this trash legislation wanted. Referenda and initiatives nearly always go on the primary ballots unless the State Constitution requires them to be held with the general election. But this interactive map is even more illuminating, I think. Highest proportion of voters (still under 50%) was Dade County. LOWEST proportion--Kansas City--about 12%. "There's no there there" to quote just about everyone. The whole map shows the correlation between urban density and low turnouts.

So the stay-at-homes won this election. The real losers, MHO, were the party officials, workers, and (not-very)activists in the major cities. I suspect every progressive grass roots organization has some sort of local version in KC. Where were they and why weren't they working on this? Heat exhaustion, perhaps.


I wonder if it's not somewhat necessary to actually *have* one of these idiotic nullification attempts pass, specifically to be later smacked down by the court system.


I used to think that Democrats were deliberately sitting on the sidelines waiting for Republicans to hoist themselves on their own petards, but I'm now agreeing with you that they're merely lazy and foolish, and I'll add feckless.


"if you stood on the corner in Knobnoster, MO and asked 5 people coming out of the local tea party meeting how they felt about this question" you might just be working for Rassmussen!


I had to go look. Yes there IS a Knob Noster. And they do spell it as two words. Our Knob? Like Pater Noster? But the church across from the High School is Lutheran. Things that make you go Hmmmmm. It must be Republican--the beast which crossed the street ( )left red footprints. Only four toes...


This sounds like a lot of whistling past the graveyard. Trumpeting the idea that nullification successes haven't hit double digits yet as a victory is like Davy Crockett claiming the 9 holes in the walls of the Alamo are a major military achievement.

Also, the premise that the Missouri win is based merely on primary voters, is I guess supposed to convey that it is not representative of the will of the ENTIRE electorate. That is kind of silly, because it either means, that come November there will be 100% voter participation, or it implies that Healthcare supporters ever gave two hoots about what a majority of the people wanted considering the massive opposition in polls to the bill.

Most people didn't like it when it past, they don't like it now, and the voters that supported it are expected to be the least likely to show up at the polls in November.

Keep whistling past the graveyard.


Nathan, what about legal challenges to the law, based on the 10th Amendment or the commerce clause? Virginia's attempt at this hasn't got very far yet, but it is already further along than I think most people expected it to get.


Nullification? The real issue is political rather than legal. Prop C in Missouri passed by better than 2 to 1 with at least 40,000 Dem voters in favor.


Wrong, Abdul. Missouri is an open primary but you have to declare a party to get a ballot. We had three choices this primary: (1) Democratic ballot which included issues like Prop C; (2) Republican ballot which included issues like Prop C; and (3) Issues only ballot without any candidates.

As far as anyone knows, independents could have voted Yes on Prop C.


Yes they could. But if you total the R primary votes, and the Indy (non-R and non-D) votes that still leaves 40,000 that had to come from Dems.


I go with St. Lounick on this one. If a person can ask for any ballot you have no way of knowing what that person's allegiance really is. I could walk into a primary election--prove my identity and ask for any ballot I chose to ask for. I could be a died-in-the-wool Democrat, ask for the Republican Ballot, and vote for the candidate I thought easier to defeat. That happens in Rhode Island. I suspect the rules aren't that different in Missouri.


Each state has different rules and procedures. Here in Missouri, when one registers to vote, no party identification is made. The voter card does not have any party identification on it at all.

In primary elections, the voter signs in and then is asked which ballot he/she wants--a Democratic one, a Republican one, or one with just issues on it. I am a dues-paying Democrat and I can choose any of those three ballots without challenge.

Our voting laws vary from state to state. Be careful when you opine, Abdul, on state primary results you are unfamiliar with.


It's amazing how "strict Constitutionalists" simply ignore the Constitution (the Supremacy Clause in this case) whenever it suits them.


As far as Minnesota is concerned, that's easy. Governor Tim Pawlenty wants to repeal it. But Democrat political hack attorney general Lisa Swanson I think it is refused. Instead, she wants to sue companies that try to support candidates out of their general funds.


Anyway, what counts is states that pass legislation that is upheld, that takes ObamaCare mandate away.


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