There were several healthcare-related referendums on the ballot Tuesday night during the midterm elections.

Notably, five states asked voters about how they should regulate abortion following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in June. 

Another five put the issue of recreational marijuana legalization up for a vote while South Dakota voters were asked to consider expanding Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

Additionally, Mehmet Oz, the celebrity doctor, ran as the Republican nominee to represent Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate. 

Here’s how Americans voted with healthcare on the ballot in 2022.

Abortion rights proposals win out

Montana – Legislative Referendum 131

As of mid-Wednesday morning, the proposal would establish that “infants born alive, including infants born alive after an abortion, are legal persons,” was failing by a 52% to 48% vote.

If approved, the law would require “healthcare providers to take necessary actions to preserve the life of a born-alive infant” or face penalties of up to 20 years in jail along with a fine of $50,000.

Kentucky – Question 2

Bluegrass State voters rejected a constitutional amendment that would have said there is no right to an abortion, with abortion rights advocates claiming victory.

There is a near total ban on abortion in Kentucky following the ‘trigger laws’ that went into effect following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June.

Michigan – Proposal 3

Early results indicated that almost 60% of voters supported a measure to amend the state constitution to guarantee access to abortions, sterilization and contraception.

The measure passing in the battleground state overrides the state’s abortion ban that was passed in 1931.

California – Proposition 1

Nearly two-thirds of voters supported adding the right to an abortion and contraceptive use to the state constitution.

The language for the referendum was originally introduced in June and quickly passed through the state legislature before being approved to appear on the ballot.

Vermont – Proposal 5

Almost 80% of Green Mountain State voters supported adding “”personal reproductive autonomy” to the state constitution.

ACLU of Vermont heralded the vote as people sending a “a powerful message that they value this fundamental right and will not tolerate it being taken away.”

Medicaid expansion in South Dakota

Around 56% of South Dakota voters voted in favor of Amendment D, which expands the state’s Medicaid program under the ACA.

The expansion will take place in July and provide coverage for around 40,000 people.

There are now 40 states, including Washington, DC, that have expanded Medicaid under the ACA, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation

Dr. Oz

Oz was defeated by Democratic nominee John Fetterman in the race to replace retiring Sen. Pat Toomey.

Fetterman captured just over 50% of the vote with 93% of precincts reporting results.

Oz, who is a retired cardiothoracic surgeon, gained prominence from his numerous appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, which led to him hosting his own TV program for more than a decade before running for public office.

Amid his run, Columbia University Medical Center quietly cut ties with Oz, The Daily Beast reported in April. Oz previously held leadership positions like vice chair of surgery and director of integrated medicine but was criticized for his support for former President Donald Trump and promoting questionable medical advice. 

Flavored vape ban 

California voters overwhelmingly decided to ban all flavored tobacco products.

The ban mirrors proposals that were enacted in northeastern states like Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Jersey.

The vote took place amid a fierce ongoing battle between vape companies like Juul and the Food and Drug Administration. 

In June, the FDA ordered Juul products off the market, saying the company’s premarket tobacco product applications “lacked sufficient evidence regarding the toxicological profile of the products to demonstrate that marketing of the products would be appropriate for the protection of the public health.”

Late last month, a small study which will be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2022 found that pod-based e-cigarettes like Juuls may be just as negatively impactful on the cardiovascular system as regular cigarettes.

Recreational marijuana legalization


Voters overwhelmingly approved the measure by a vote of 66% to 34%.


Voters approved the measure by a vote of 53% to 47%.


Voters defeated the measure by a vote of 56% to 44%.

North Dakota

Voters defeated the measure by a vote of 55% to 45%.

South Dakota

Voters defeated the measure by a vote of 54% to 46%.

Other healthcare-focused measures 

Voters overwhelmingly backed Arizona Proposition 209, which sets limits on interest rates charged on medical debt. The effort was supported by a progressive California healthcare union.

Similarly, voters in Massachusetts voted to regulate dental insurance in the state. As part of Question 2, the state will require dental insurers to spend a certain percentage of premiums on patient care.

Outstanding is a ballot initiative in Oregon that would enshrine healthcare as a human right under the state constitution.