Just because the Senate isn’t a supermajority for the Democrats any more doesn’t mean healthcare reform is dead. The House could pass the Senate bill as is and the president could sign it without going back to the Senate. It is all in the hands of the Democrats alone. They still have the majority in the House, and despite some complaints — valid or otherwise — about the Senate bill, the only way to get it done now is to pass it without changes, get it signed, then tweak it later. It’s all or nothing, and I really don’t think the voters who supported the bill and who watched the painful process of putting it together — not to mention put up with the teabaggers — will accept any less. If the Democrats can’t deliver this, then what can they?
Ezra Klein lays it out.
Democrats should pass health-care reform because it’s the right thing to do. They should pass health-care reform because between 18,000 and 45,000 people die each year because they don’t have health-care insurance, and this bill will save many of those lives. They should pass health-care reform because it will prevent countless medical bankruptcies and an enormous amount of needless chronic pain and infirmity. They should pass it because it will take important steps towards cost control. They should pass health-care reform, as my friend Chris Hayes says, because it’s important for the American people to see their government doing more than starting wars and bailing out banks. They should pass health-care reform because it’s the right thing to do, both for the millions of people whom it will directly affect and for the country as a whole.
And we have waited too long and worked too hard for it all to come to naught because, as Steve Benen put it, “some Massachusetts voters experienced a dramatic lapse in judgment.”