Election of Republican senator in Massachusetts... - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Election of Republican senator in Massachusetts could mean trouble for health care reform

By Tracie Potts

BOSTON (NBC) - Massachusetts has a new senator and his election could signal the death of the Democrats' health care plan.

The President's party is now one seat short of a super-majority and Republicans are claiming America is on their side.

The Republican who won Ted Kennedy's seat has been vocal about opposing President Obama's health reform, and his vote may now give the GOP the ammunition they need to stop it.

Massachusetts' Scott Brown says he's eager to become the Senate's 41st Republican vote on health care.

"We already have 98 percent of our people insured here. We know what we need to do to fix it," said Senator-Elect Brown.

Brown gives Republicans enough votes to derail the Democrats' plan.

"Last night a shot was fired around this nation, a shot was fired saying no more business as usual in Washington DC," said Arizona Republican Senator John McCain.

The GOP is calling his election a clear message from America on several issues.

"They don't want this health care bill - it's pretty darn clear!" said Indiana Republican Congressman Dan Burton.

President Obama's urging lawmakers to focus on areas where they agree.

"We heard. We will heed. We will move forward with their considerations in mind but we will move forward for health care," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

But even Democrats are wary. Virginia's Jim Webb wants to put all health care votes on hold until Brown's sworn in.

Republicans and the president are warning against a big rush.

"You may have more votes than we do, but if you do it by yourself, the public probably isn't gonna buy it," said republican Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

NBC's latest poll seems to support that. A majority of Americans oppose the President's health reform plan calling it the most negative thing about his first year.

But interestingly, health reform isn't the biggest issue for Americans.

Our poll shows it ranks fourth behind jobs, terrorism and the deficit.

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