Missouri overwhelmingly passed a ballot measure yesterday challenging a key part of the federal health care law.
Proposition C passed with about 70% of the vote. It outlaws any government from requiring a person to have health insurance or pay a penalty. Such a mandate, however, represents a central part of the new health care law. Missouri's ballot proposal marks the first popular vote in the country to challenge the federal provision.
Patrick Tuohey has been heading a statewide campaign in support of the measure. He says he's not surprised it passed.
"Missourians are very independent," says Tuohey. "And really, the message to the country is that this is not something we have to sit down and take."
State Senator Jolie Justice, a democrat from Kansas City running for re-election, says she's disappointed Prop C passed. But she says it's ultimately not a big deal.
"I really think that when average Americans start getting the benefits from health care reform, that ultimately the message war will swing back and most Americans will be in favor of it," says Justus.
Prop C is likely to face legal challenges.
Meanwhile, legislatures in five states have already passed similar measures. At least two other states are slated for a popular vote on the issue in November.
Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.