Massachusetts does healthcare one way, Texas does it another, he said. “Why do we need this total domination of government interference into our states,” said Brown, emphasizing he was a “firm states-rights believer.”
Brown also criticized the use of reconciliation, a measure being considered to pass health reform legislation on a simple majority vote, as a way to “ram something through that's not very popular. It's not the way we should do things.”
Americans in this debate want transparency, Brown continued. “They do not want the carve outs and special interest payoffs, they want something that accomplishes a goal without cutting Medicare a half trillion dollars, raising taxes and putting prohibitions on certain types of coverage.”
Another speaker, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), agreed with Brown that jobs were a top priority for lawmakers, but countered that “we can't afford to not act on healthcare reform,” based on the numbers of uninsured and rising healthcare costs at stake. More than 220,000 Nebraskans currently lack health insurance, he noted.
Nelson was the subject of criticism for initially receiving a federal subsidy for his state's Medicaid program, in return for his support on the Senate health reform legislation. The so-called “Cornhusker Kickback” was eventually dropped from the bill.
Both senators, however, were unified in their belief that health reform should be a bipartisan effort that includes the states as senior partners in revising the healthcare system.
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