Tuesday, January 19, 2010

GOP takes Mass. Senate seat, complicating health care reform

Scott Brown, a somewhat charismatic and young moderate Republican, has won the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s Massachusetts US Senate seat, breaking up the Democrat supermajority (59-41) and supposedly jeopardizing the heath care reform bill.

Of course Nancy Pelosi insists that health care reform bill will pass soon, but many observers, including David Gergen on CNN, say that the coverage from the bill may be much less than “universal”. Democrats have not been able to sell their arguments, and from an ideological perspective one can see why.

Still, much of the “pre-existing condition” problem will probably be solved in whatever bill passes. And many people should find insurance much more affordable. The young will probably have to pay somewhat more, still.

Update: Jan 20

Steven Pearlstein has an op-ed in the Washington Post this morning, "GOP win doesn't mean health reform is dead", link here. The 60 vote supermajority fixation refers to being able to stop a fillibuster. The constitution does not require a supermajority to pass health reform itself (there is a supermajority required in the House for appropriations). High schooll government teachers can jump on the results of this election as a teachable moment (and maybe a good test question).

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