By electing me to the US Senate, the people of Massachusetts sent a clear message: Washington needs to get its priorities straight. Voters believed I would be the best candidate to fight for jobs and a stronger economy, keep our country safe, and serve as the 41st vote against the health care reform legislation debated in the Senate.
After my election, Washington politicians began an aggressive push to bend the rules and force their unpopular health care bill on an unwilling nation. They went into secret negotiations to make up their own rules, and eventually found a way to circumvent the will of the people by using the reconciliation process to ram through their health care bill. For the last year, the American people have been shaking their heads at the closed-door meetings, sweetheart deals, and special carve-outs. It has been a very ugly process, and caused many Americans to lose faith in their elected officials in Washington.
This bill constitutes a massive increase in spending that our country can’t afford and will result in a huge expansion in the size and reach of the federal government. When this legislation is fully implemented, the real cost to taxpayers is $2.6 trillion over years. Instead of reforming the health care system and bending the cost curve down, we are doing the exact opposite.
Everywhere I go, people ask me what can be done about this now — after the president has signed it into law, and Nancy Pelosi and others are taking their victory laps.
For starters, we can work in a bipartisan manner to repeal the worst parts of this bill. Americans have been clear that they do not like its $2.6 trillion cost, the higher taxes on families and businesses, the runaway spending, the state mandates, the sweetheart deals, and overcharging students to pay for health care.
We should replace the worst parts of this legislation with solutions that would actually lower costs and improve the quality of care — such as allowing individuals to purchase insurance across state lines, measures that will prevent waste, fraud and abuse, support for increased prevention and wellness programs, and reforms to limit costly litigation and defensive medicine.
I am working on legislation that would allow states to opt out of this federal health care bill because states need flexibility, not a federal government takeover of health care. Instead, individual states should have the flexibility to solve the health care problems in a way that is best for their specific state, similar to the approach we took in Massachusetts that has resulted in a state-specific plan that covers 98 percent of our citizens without raising taxes.
I am also working to repeal the medical device tax. Massachusetts has more than 200 medical device manufacturers who employ tens of thousands of workers. The medical device tax will not only cost our state good-paying jobs when we can least afford it, but it will be passed along to consumers, who will pay more for necessary medical equipment.
At a time when unemployment in the Commonwealth is hovering at nearly 10 percent, the last thing we should be doing is slapping businesses and workers with higher taxes. I am leading a charge to take the billions of dollars sitting unused in the stimulus slush funds of federal bureaucracies and give immediate tax relief — as much as $100 a month — to every American worker so that they can support their families now and inject money into the economy rather than let it stagnate in Washington.
This disastrous detour of a health care bill has distracted the attention and energy of Congress for the past year. Now, it is time to listen to the people and focus on their top priority: jobs. It would be a mistake for the administration to try to ram through other items on the liberal agenda when so many Americas are struggling. Americans want their government to fully focus its attention on the economy and getting our citizens back to work.
Washington is broken. All across the country, people believe that their elected officials are working for themselves and not on behalf of their constituents. Only when we start heeding the will of the American people can we begin to restore faith in government, and it all starts with commonsense, practical solutions that will put Americans back to work and get our economy back on track.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Scott Brown: The health care fight is not over
Scott Brown has an Op-Ed in today's Boston Globe that's too good to do anything but quote in it's entirety: