Health care in Massachusetts
The craziest thing about interpreting Scott Brown's election as a strike against health-care reform is that Brown comes from a state that has already implemented this health-care reform and likes it. In fact, Brown voted for it and defended it on the campaign trail. Alec MacGillis explains:
While many are describing the election to fill the late Edward M. Kennedy's Senate seat as a referendum on national health-care reform, the Republican candidate rode to victory on a message more nuanced than flat-out resistance to universal health coverage: Massachusetts residents, he said, already had insurance and should not have to pay for it elsewhere.
Scott Brown, the Republican state senator who won a stunning upset in Tuesday's election, voted for the state's health-care legislation, which was signed by then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and has covered all but 3 percent of Massachusetts residents. That legislation became the basic model for national health-care legislation. Brown has not disavowed his support for the state's law, which retains majority backing in Massachusetts.
Instead, he argued on the campaign trail that Massachusetts had taken care of its own uninsured, and it would not be in the state's interest to contribute to an effort to cover the uninsured nationwide.
"We have insurance here in Massachusetts," he said in a campaign debate. "I'm not going to be subsidizing for the next three, five years, pick a number, subsidizing what other states have failed to do."
In a news conference Wednesday, he said, "There are some very good things in the national plan that's being proposed, but if you look at -- and really almost in a parochial manner -- we need to look out for Massachusetts first. . . . The thing I'm hearing all throughout the state is, 'What about us?' "
Incidentally, the federal government subsidizes a substantial share of Massachusetts's reform plan through its Medicaid waivers, which makes this "we got ours" attitude all the more noxious.
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