Brown Vows to Send Health Care Reform 'Back to the Drawing Board'

Republican Scott Brown, fresh off his victory in the Massachusetts race for U.S. Senate, called on the secretary of state to send him to Washington immediately, saying Wednesday that he wants to send health insurance reform "back to the drawing board."

Though the state typically waits at least 10 days to collect absentee ballots before certifying, the senator-elect said he's "confident" his margin of victory -- 5 points and nearly 110,000 votes -- was greater than the number of outstanding ballots.

Brown is champing at the bit to be sworn in since he would become the 41st Republican in the Senate, breaking the Democrats' 60-vote supermajority and potentially scuttling health care reform if it returns to the chamber for a final vote.

"Since the election is not in doubt, I'm hopeful that the Senate will seat me on the basis of those unofficial returns," Brown said, adding that he's already spoken to members of the state's congressional delegation, including Sen. John Kerry, and will travel to Washington Thursday. "I think it's important that we hit the ground running because there's some very important issues facing our country."

On health care reform, he said he wants "everyone" to have some form of health care coverage, but questioned plans to slash Medicare and raise taxes to do it.

"I think we can do it better," he said.

The Republican senator-elect said he was focused on moving to Washington as soon as possible to try to free up some of the political gridlock there.

"I have always just wanted to go down and solve the problem regardless of party," Brown told NBC's "Today" Show.

"While they're in Washington talking about what someone said in a book and what this happened, we have some very serious problems when it comes to over-taxation, overspending and Al Qaeda who are trying to kill us. So we need to get back to the basics and start solving problems that affect every person in this country," he said.

Brown's insurgent candidacy has forced Democrats to rethink the basics on several matters, including the massive health insurance reform bill that is tagged to cost nearly $1 trillion over 10 years. They are also reconsidering agenda items they plan to use in November's midterm election campaigns.

By winning the Senate seat in Massachusetts by nearly the same margin that President Obama defeated Sen. John McCain in November 2008, Brown takes away Democrats' filibuster-proof majority and can pull a reverse-Obama -- claiming a mandate to defeat the health care legislation now stuck in Congress.

Despite the upset, Obama adviser David Axelrod said administration officials will take into account the message voters delivered Tuesday but declined to go further.

"It's not an option simply to walk away from a problem that's only going to get worse," Axelrod said of the health care bill.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said one of the many messages coming out of the Massachusetts election is that Americans are sick of partisan gridlock, but voters also had a much more expansive recommendation.

"They want better performance out of Washington, they want us focusing on the troubled economy and the need for more jobs and ... they're tired of sweetheart deals that were sneaked into the health care bill. They want that kind of bill to be negotiated in the open. And they're tired of politics as usual and they also want controls. They don't want unfettered, one-party control," Collins told Fox News.

Collins said she cannot support a bill "that imposes billions of dollars for new taxes, slashes Medicare by $500 billion and would actually cause insurance rates to go up."

"We really should start from scratch and do a completely bipartisan bill," she added

But Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said that Americans oppose the health insurance changes because "the administration and its supporters, myself included, haven't done a good enough job explaining to people what's in this bill."

Rendell said he wants to go back to the drawing board in order to better communicate the message. If that fails, and a filibuster is threatened, then Democrats shouldn't "just cave" but should make the other side "explain why they're trying to block the bill with this type of political chicanery."

"I haven't heard one good alternative offered by any Republican except let's start at the beginning, let's start all over. Start all over to do what?" he asked.

Rendell added that he wants to call the GOP's bluff.

"Let them filibuster, let them take to the floor and speak endlessly and endlessly about why this is bad for the American people and what the alternative is," he said.

As the debate continues over whether to scrap the year-long health insurance reform effort, some are also looking at whether Republicans can repeat the feat in Massachusetts in other states.

Seven Senate seats now held by Democrats are now considered toss-ups in November -- Nevada, Colorado, Arkansas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut. Four Republican seats are in the same situation -- Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio and New Hampshire.

"I think anybody who's up for election this November ought to take seriously what the people of Massachusetts had to say in that special Senate election," said Sen. Joe Lieberman. D-Conn.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Democrats nationwide should be on notice

"Americans are ready to hold the party in power accountable for their irresponsible spending and out-of-touch agenda."

But Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Robert Menendez cautioned against "taking a single unique election and extrapolating what it means for the midterms 10 months away."

Still, Menendez said he doesn't want to sugarcoat what happened and Democrats will be sorting through the lessons in the days ahead.

Fox News' Caroline Shively contributed to this report.