The Michigan grassroots effort to repeal the national health care law failed when organizers said they fell short of the needed signatures on Tuesday.

Wendy Day, the force behind Michigan Citizens For Healthcare Freedom, announced that about 145,000 to 185,000 signatures were collected. The group needed 380,000 signatures to put an amendment to the state Constitution on the ballot.

"I know you must be disappointed about the outcome," Day wrote in an e-mail to the volunteers. "Trust me, I am too. We never would have taken this project on if we really thought it was hopeless. But this isn't a fight you or I picked. It is a fight Congress started in March. While the results were not what we wanted, this isn't the end of the line."

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Jack McHugh, the Mackinac Center For Public Policy's senior legislative analysis, was at Howell when Day kicked off the petition drive in late March.

"The initiative was a scream of pain from a general public that had just witnessed the political class trample 200 years of limited government principles, using a "whatever it takes" process that violated all our democratic traditions of deliberative policy making," McHugh wrote in an e-mail. "The people sought redress to a national outrage by explicitly placing one of the violated principles into our state constitution. However, the potential effectiveness of that approach is speculative and abstract, which turned out to be an insuperable obstacle to raising even enough money to sustain even a purely volunteer petitioning process. Politicians who read this as public acceptance of the new law do so at their peril."

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