- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 21, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

By voting “yes” for Scott Brown on Tuesday, the people of Massachusetts said “no.”

“No” to corruption, secrecy and the fanatical push for government control demonstrated by congressional Democrats and the White House throughout the entire legislative process on a health care bill that the American people oppose by huge margins.

Scott Brown gave Massachusetts the opportunity to send a strong message on behalf of the rest of the nation, and it answered the call resoundingly.

Over 200 years ago, my native state led the fight against British tyranny and the self-appointed pickpockets of government. On Jan. 19, they did it again, their votes clearly telegraphing that the American people will not relinquish their individual freedom, nor their economic liberty to elected officials who have forgotten who is working for whom.

The big question now is “where does health care reform go from here?” A cacophony of both Bay State and national polling data should end the debate immediately.

A postelection survey of Massachusetts voters done Tuesday night by Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates was telling. A whopping 48 percent indicated that it was health care that drove their vote. Based on the outcome, one can easily conclude that opposition to “Obamacare” was the reason they cast ballots for Mr. Brown.

According to the survey, a plurality of voters stated that their Senate vote was cast specifically to stop current congressional health care plans in their tracks.

More generally, asked if they approved of President Obama’s policies and the direction he is taking the country, a plurality of 38 percent of total voters and 44 percent of independents from the most liberal state in the United States that voted 62 percent for Obama-Biden said “no.”

A series of national polls conducted over the last few months show that Americans oppose Obamacare in increasing numbers. The most recent Rasmussen survey noted that 55 percent object to this plan that does, in fact, create the infrastructure necessary for the government takeover of our medical care.

Massachusetts already has a government health care plan. After only a few years, it’s already broken. Bay Staters are facing rising premiums, first-ever waits for care and an unsustainable budget. Despite the inevitable spin that will come out of the pro-government health care camp, the people of Massachusetts knew exactlywhat their votes meant in theory and in practice as they left polling stations on Tuesday.

This results of this race put Democrats, Republicans and Scott Brown all under a heavy burden.

Congressional Democrats could shove through some version of health care “reform” even though it would likely mean not seeing the light of a winning Election Day for a long time.

Republicans must assertively write, push and publicize legislation that truly is health care reform. As my mentor, now-retired Sen. Malcolm Wallop of Wyoming, always told me, “you’ve got to make them vote even if you know you’ll lose - and then you make them explain why.”

Two critical changes would constructively transform health care in the United States by lowering cost and increasing access. One is eliminating barriers for state-to-state purchase of health care that would create a 50-state competitive market for health insurance.

The other is to allow individuals to deduct health care premiums from their income tax, making their health care fully portable in this time of unstable employment. Instant refundable tax credits for qualifying low-income individuals would allow them to enter the market - often for the first time - and purchase plans that suit their particular needs.

Soon-to-be-Sen. Brown is aware that his win was attributable to his folksy style, his likeability, his truck, and his clear articulation of policies that promote individual and national prosperity.

He also knows that he flew in on the wing of a protest vote. When he arrives in Washington, he must immediately join with Republicans on the Hill to push for real reform as he is now, de facto, the poster child for change that we actuallycan believe in.

It’s a daunting task, but the unprecedented backing he received in his home state and across the country from Republicans, independents and even Democrats clearly demonstrates that he has a powerful wall of support behind him.

Let not this opportunity be squandered.

Kerri Houston Toloczko is senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Liberty. Ms. Toloczko grew up in Massachusetts.

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