With Scott Brown (R-MA) positioned to be the guy who can kill health care reform, it’s worth taking a look at just what he’s said about the issue. Because when it comes right down to it, his reasons for opposing the bill have been so varied and inconsistent that you start to wonder whether even he knows why he’s against it. It must be a tricky dance, given that he’s running to assume Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in the bluest of blue states. But with Kennedy’s signature priority in the balance, you’d think he’d have a solid reason for wanting to bury it.
Conservatives and Republicans are pouring millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours into a dark horse Senate election in bright-blue Massachusetts because they think that’s their last, best hope to kill health care reform. They’re not even shy about it. In a fundraising letter, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney told voters “If he is successful, Scott will be the crucial 41st vote against President Obama’s healthcare bill when it comes back to the Senate for final passage.” And he who plays the piper calls the tune. “I would be proud to be the 41st vote, and go back to the drawing board,” Brown boasted in his final debate with Democrat Martha Coakley.
But for all his bluster, there remains no small amount of confusion about why Brown wants to kill the bill. Or at least this bill.“The health care bill that’s being proposed in Washington is broken,” Brown said during Monday’s debate. “The back-room deals, Nebraska, Louisiana, we all know about it. We need to start over.” He’s talking about measures in the bill (federal Medicaid dollars for Nebraska, disaster aide for Louisiana) that helped Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pass the Senate health care bill. But those deals were trivial compared to the scope of the reform measures on the table. Surely his objections must be deeper than that, right?
“We have insurance here in Massachusetts. We have some of the best doctors, nurses and hospitals in the country, that’s why people come here,” Brown said.
Massachusetts does indeed have universal insurance–but that’s because in 2006, Romney spearheaded and signed a health care reform bill in Massachusetts, that made health insurance a requirement; just like the Democrats are trying to do right now. And, as you might’ve guessed, as state Senator, Brown voted for it.
Which makes statements like these all the more puzzling: “I’d like to send them back to the drawing board, because I believe people should have insurance, not this particular bill because it’s not good for the country.”
So what’s good for Massachusetts is not good for the country, then?
Wrong again! Turns out, it’s not even good for Massachusetts!
“Not only is this bill going to be bad for the state, my job is to be the senator from Massachusetts,” Brown said. I’m not going to be subsidizing for the next three, five years, pick a number, subsidizing what other states have failed to do.”
What we appear to be seeing is a Senate candidate raising big bucks on a pledge to kill his rival party’s health care bill. He just doesn’t seem to know why.