This is a great piece by Alec MacGillis in the Post, the kind of thing newspapers normally don’t have the guts to run:
While many are describing the election to fill the late Edward M. Kennedy’s Senate seat as a referendum on national health-care reform, the Republican candidate rode to victory on a message more nuanced than flat-out resistance to universal health coverage: Massachusetts residents, he said, already had insurance and should not have to pay for it elsewhere.
Scott Brown, the Republican state senator who won a stunning upset in Tuesday’s election, voted for the state’s health-care legislation, which was signed by then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and has covered all but 3 percent of Massachusetts residents. That legislation became the basic model for national health-care legislation. Brown has not disavowed his support for the state’s law, which retains majority backing in Massachusetts.
Instead, he argued on the campaign trail that Massachusetts had taken care of its own uninsured, and it would not be in the state’s interest to contribute to an effort to cover the uninsured nationwide.
“We have insurance here in Massachusetts,” he said in a campaign debate. “I’m not going to be subsidizing for the next three, five years, pick a number, subsidizing what other states have failed to do.”
Look around the world. There’s noplace—not Canada, not England, not France, not Massachusetts, not Taiwan, not anywhere—where the implementation of a universal health care system leads to backlash and repeal. Instead it leads to the local conservative political party becoming a fan of universal health care.
This is very relevant to the issue Ed Kilgore is talking about here. The question of whether passing health reform will inflame an angry public is different from the issue of whether or not health reform legislation polls well right now. The evidence from around the world, and in particular from Massachusetts, suggests that people get very attached to universal health care plans very quickly.