As I’ve traveled across New Hampshire during my listening tour, I’ve heard the same thing wherever I’ve gone.
People tell me they believe we are moving in the wrong direction. They’re concerned about our future, and they’ve lost faith in the politicians who are supposed to be fighting for our priorities — not those of the special interests in Washington, D.C.
They want a growing economy and more good jobs.
They want a government that doesn’t spend more than it takes in.
They want a country that is respected again around the world.
But most of all, they want a health care system that works for New Hampshire. Whether it’s on a main street or in a living room, a bar, a restaurant or a diner, the message has been the same: Obamacare is not working. People are angry that millions — including more than 20,000 in New Hampshire alone — have received letters of cancellations notifying them their old plan is no longer valid.
They’re mad that the Obamacare Democrats promised we’d be able to keep the care we like, and now we can’t. They can’t understand why their options going forward are so limited.
A “disaster” is what a top official at one of New Hampshire’s leading hospitals called the new health care law, and he pointed out just last week that many people in our state were forced onto insurance that no longer covers care at the hospital they’ve been going to for decades. On top of that, another recent report indicated that smaller states like New Hampshire would be particularly hard hit by skyrocketing premiums under Obamacare.
Last week, I met a small business owner in Henniker who is now paying twice as much for health care because of Obamacare. He’s a hard worker who just wants to make an honest living and provide for his family. Now, he’s facing tough decisions about the future and barely keeping his head above water because of a health care bill he didn’t want or need.
Sunday marked the fourth anniversary of Obamacare becoming law, and as we look forward on how to fix this mess, it’s important to take a look back on how we got here. It took the vote of every single Democratic senator — including the tie-breaking vote of New Hampshire’s own Jeanne Shaheen — to band together and pass this bill.
Without Sen. Shaheen’s vote, Obamacare wouldn’t have passed, and we wouldn’t be dealing with its catastrophic consequences today. It is a fair question to ask why in passing this bill Sen. Shaheen put a national political agenda ahead of the interests of her state. This is what happens when you vote 99 percent of the time with President Obama — you become more concerned with “winning” on an issue than doing the right thing.
Now that another campaign is upon us, President Obama has endorsed Sen. Shaheen and wants to see her re-elected. I’ve invited him to come to New Hampshire so that he and Jeanne Shaheen can together defend the health care law that has caused so much frustration for so many people. I don’t expect they’ll take me up on the offer. From a broken health care system to a soaring national debt to a foreign policy that has left us looking weak, the Obama-Shaheen agenda has not been good for New Hampshire.
Now, I don’t pretend to have all the answers to everything, but I do know this much: If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we start by electing people who won’t march in lockstep with all the other Washington politicians. Instead of telling the people of New Hampshire what’s best for them, I am spending my time listening and learning. After all, that’s what elected democracy at its core should be all about.
Despite the challenges we face, I’ve been uplifted by the spirits of the good, hard-working people I’ve encountered on the trail. They are not discouraged, but they are looking for new leadership. They deserve a government that is as good and hard-working as they are. The politicians in Washington should spend time with the people of New Hampshire — they might learn a thing or two about what makes America great.
Scott Brown, a Republican of Rye who formerly served as U.S. senator from Massachusetts, has formed a committee to explore a run for U.S. Senate against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.