Senate race in home stretch

A showdown over health care reform

January 16, 2010

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AS A cancer patient, I have been watching the debate in Washington around health care reform with great interest. I am dismayed at the threat of 41 senators holding the nation hostage and blocking needed reform. But I am even more dismayed at the willingness of the Democratic leadership to bow to this small group.

Make them filibuster, I say. Not the false, polite “procedural filibuster’’ of counting votes, but the real filibuster, in which senators have to speak continuously and refuse to give up the floor. I relish the idea of the American people, who in overwhelming numbers want health care reform, watching the Republicans and their allies on C-SPAN tying up the Senate, blocking not only health care reform but all legislation from moving forward. How long do we really think it would take for the voters to rise up and force the Republicans to back off?

People are dying while senators play nice. Make the oppositionists expose themselves to the American public. Bring back the real filibuster.

Charley Richardson
Jamaica Plain

AS I read the Globe editorial board’s Jan. 14 endorsement of Martha Coakley for Senate, I was troubled by the assertion that a vote for Republican Scott Brown is “a vote for gridlock’’ in the Senate. On the contrary, a vote for him is a vote for bipartisanship. Should he be elected, the Democrats will lose their supermajority in the Senate, and if they want controversial legislation to pass, they will have to make it palatable to both sides of the aisle. I believe that ultimately this will strengthen the United States, as both the past and present show that one-party rule does not work. Citizens of the Commonwealth can understand that better than anyone.

Christopher Leopardi

RE “BROWN’S run may be model for GOP’’ (Page A1, Jan. 15): According to your front-page story, “national GOP strategists say that the unexpected tightening in the Massachusetts Senate race has demonstrated the potency of the electorate’s antipathy for the Democratic health care legislation.’’

That’s Democratic health care legislation with a capital “D.’’ True, not a single Republican voted for it in the end, but that’s because no Republican wants to be seen supporting the president of the United States. However, the GOP, with no substantive input as to how we should fix our health care system, had a lot to do with the pathetic results of this bill.

They can feel pure about distancing themselves from a bill that will now do more to protect insurance companies than Americans. In the years ahead they can pat themselves on the back each and every time another uninsured American dies from lack of heath insurance.

Barbara Dumas

AS A primary care physician for more than 33 years, I applaud the Globe editorial board for supporting Martha Coakley for the US Senate seat in Tuesday’s special election. Passage of the Obama administration’s health care reform package is one of the most critical issues our country faces in the coming years. In spite of a misguided sense of the general public that we have great health care in this country, anybody who works in this system knows we are in a death spiral and will soon be unable to meet the steadily increasing health care needs of the American people.

Republican candidate Scott Brown’s attitude regarding health care reform is not only misinformed and counterproductive. It is downright wrong. The citizens of Massachusetts should not take this issue lightly. Failure to pass this legislation, as incomplete as it may be, will devastate our ability to provide health care to anybody but the very wealthy. In addition, the long-term costs of neglecting health care to all Americans will permanently and irreversibly cripple our state and national economy.

Coakley is the best candidate to represent Massachusetts in Washington to see that we can move from a third-rate world health care system to one that will meet the needs of our citizens, restore strength to our economy, and allow American industry to grow.

Dr. Martin P. Solomon

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