By the incredible margin of 65.6 percent – 34.4 percent, voters in Ohio approved an amendment to “preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their health care and health care coverage.” The amendment was deliberately written so that voters would view voting for it as a way to reject of the individual mandate in “Obamacare.”
The Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate was rejected by the same electorate that also voted 61.3 percent to 38.7 percent to preserve public sector unions and their collective bargaining rights by repealing the Republican approved law, SB 5. As strongly pro-union as this electorate was, it was even more anti-individual mandate.
This also means that of the over 2 million Ohioans who went to the polls to vote to protect union rights, at least 40 percent of them also voted to oppose the individual mandate.
Forces in favor of health care reform chose not to contest the measure, because its passage would not change anything; federal law supersedes state law. But the results still show how deeply unpopular the mandate provision is with the American people. Even in an election where turnout was mainly driven by labor unions mobilizing their left leaning supporters, the idea of the individual mandate was rejected by a huge margin.
Over a year after its passage the individual mandate remains an massive albatross around the neck of the Affordable Care Act, killing popular support for the law. If only some progressive group had repeatedly tried to warn Democrats about the danger of including it in the final bill . . . oh wait . . .
Anyone saying the vote yesterday in Ohio was purely good news for the Obama 2012 campaign should keep in mind that the voters of Ohio also rejected Obama’s signature policy by roughly the same margin by which they rejected Republican Gov. John Kasich’s signature anti-union law.