Though President Obama ridiculed Scott Brown’s pickup truck, a fixture of Brown’s television advertisements and campaign rallies, that truck is about to log many more miles as it’s heading to Washington. Last night Scott Brown won a special election in Massachusetts to fill an open Senate seat, becoming the first Republican to be elected to the Massachusetts Senate since 1972.
Initially assumed to be an easy win for Democrats, the race with health care reform implications proved to be a major upset, but one indicative of the shifting public tide. Brown’s victory breaks the Democrats’ 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority in Washington, which greatly lessens the chances of health care reform legislation being passed. In campaign speeches Brown promised to vote against the health care bill, and voters responded to his message, giving Brown a 52-47 percent win in a state where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 3-1.
While there is speculation that Democrats will attempt to force through the health care bill before Brown officially takes his place in the Senate, Brown’s victory is a chance for the Senate to review the bill from a bipartisan standpoint and to create inclusive legislation that mirrors the goals of both sides of the aisle and, most importantly, the American public.
Tennessee Senator Bob Corker voiced his opinion that “Perhaps it’s not too late…And we can still have true health care reform that actually lowers costs, rewards quality and innovation, and improves access to care for millions of Americans who lack coverage. I hope the president will take advantage of this opportunity to pursue a bipartisan bill that will stand the test of time.”
Senator John Cornyn of Texas added that “Even in the bluest of blue states, Scott Brown’s message resonated with families, seniors, and small business owners who have rejected President Obama’s massive health care takeover and the Democrats’ out-of-control spending agenda in Washington.”
While Scott Brown’s victory will likely delay health care reform, the delay forces the administration to take a step back and harness the will of the American public, rather than the will of just the Democratic party. While many pundits claim that it’s better to pass a flawed bill than no bill at all, here’s hoping that both sides can work together to pragmatically reform an ailing health care system without increasing burdens on the American taxpayer and subjecting our trillion dollar health care system to government control.