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Friday, January 29, 2010

A strong step in the right direction: What Massachusetts Voters Did Not Say

Here's my letter to the editor after the election of Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate:

Massachusetts citizens have consistently supported the state's universal health insurance law. The most recent survey, in September, found that 79% want the law continued. The law has the support of Republicans and Democrats, including some prominent ones. The Republican front-runner in the gubernatorial race, Charles Baker, calls the law "a strong step in the right direction" and indeed, calls for expanding services, according to his campaign's website. Sen. Scott Brown voted for the law as a state senator, and in his recent campaign for the U.S. Senate, did not ask for its repeal. Republican Governor Mitt Romney signed the bill into law. Massachusetts' Republicans and Democrats generally support the law.

The meaning of Massachusetts voters' election of Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate is unclear – but it clearly does not show general dissatisfaction with universal health insurance as it is in effect here. It would be a tragic mistake, harming the health of tens of millions of Americans, to conclude that Massachusetts residents have spoken against expanded health insurance coverage.

Read Dr. Atul Gawande's opinion on the effects of Massachusetts’ near-universal health insurance coverage.

Advice: Forward this to your U.S. congressman.

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