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Going forward, we do need to fix America’s health system, but in a common-sense way that is in synch with our country’s values. If we are going to redesign it, we will have to do it in stages, learning from our many mistakes. We are going to have to encourage states to take the lead in figuring out how to proceed. Mr. Obama could get broad support in town-hall meetings and across the aisle for this agenda if he is willing to embrace it.

What he needs to realize after his return from Martha’s Vineyard is that — as he has often said — this isn’t about him, it’s about the country. And the country has rejected what he is proposing. The people have understood. As Ronald Reagan frequently reminded us: Trust the people.

Edwin J. Feulner is president of the Heritage Foundation.