Brown: Health care bill hurts Mass.
E-mail|Link|Comments (113) December 28, 2009 01:32 PM
By Matt Viser, Globe Staff
State Senator Scott P. Brown blasted his Democratic rival in the US Senate race today for her support of a national health care plan that Brown says would raise taxes and fees on Massachusetts residents and businesses without providing any benefits.
"I could be the 41st senator that could stop the Obama proposal that's being pushed right now through Congress," Brown, the GOP nominee for US Senate, said at a news conference in the state Republican Party's headquarters in downtown Boston. "I could stop it and they could bring it back to the drawing board."
Brown's chief rival in the Jan. 19 special election is Attorney General Martha Coakley, who supports the bill that was approved last week by the US Senate.
"This bill offers a real solution to reduce these skyrocketing health care costs while reducing our long-term deficit," Coakley said in a statement when the bill passed. "For Scott Brown to suggest that we should do nothing and continue with the status quo is simply not acceptable."
Brown said this afternoon that everyone should have some form of health care coverage, but much of that should be done on state-by-state basis. And while he supports the landmark health care proposal that Massachusetts approved in 2006, he said, he doesn’t see any benefit to the Bay State that the federal legislation would provide.
"My primary responsibility is to ensure that the people of Massachusetts get the best value for their dollar," Brown said. "I'm not concerned about subsidizing South Dakota or North Dakota or Idaho or other states."
Health care is one of many issues that separate Brown and Coakley. A third candidate in the race, independent Joseph L. Kennedy, also opposes the national health care plan.
"This race is about differences. It's about very real differences between Martha and me," Brown said. "She's a nice woman, but she's wrong on the policies as they affect the average citizens in Massachusetts and their wallets and pocketbooks."
Brown also said he was filing legislation in Massachusetts to ease regulations on insurance companies, which he said have driven up costs. He said companies should not be required to cover so many different medical services, including in vitro fertilization.
Coakley's campaign this afternoon attacked the bill, saying it would allow the removal of mandated insurance coverage for things such as mammograms, minimum maternity stays for new mothers, and hospice care for seniors.
"Scott Brown's apparent solution to controlling health care costs is to cut coverage for consumers and raise profits for insurers," Coakley's campaign manager, Kevin Conroy, said in a statement. "Martha Coakley understands that the solution to health care is expanding coverage, increasing transparency, and reducing health care costs for all."
Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.