Health Care Future

It was not a good night for Democrats in the Congress, as Scott Brown handily won the special U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts, an election victory few would have thought possible just two weeks ago.  And it could well mean very difficult times for backers of health care reform.

One year ago today, all the momentum was with Barack Obama.  Several million people showed up at the Capitol for his Inaugural.

A year later, things don't look as good for the Democrats.

The crown jewel of their agenda, health care reform, has lost its 60th vote in the Senate, a stinging rebuke that will certainly turn the knees of some Democrats into Election Year Jelly.

There are no good options for Democrats right now on health care.

Despite a lot of talk, the idea of not seating Scott Brown in order to get a health bill through the House and Senate just is not realistic, more akin to political suicide.

Another option is getting the House to approve the Senate's health bill, which would send it straight to President Obama.  But that is fraught with peril as well.

Democratic leaders on Tuesday tried to send a message that they weren't giving up.

"Regardless of what happens in Massachusetts, we still have to reconcile the differences between our two bills," said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a few hours before her party's defeat in Massachusetts.

But that kind of talk landed with a thud, and sounded hollow in a Capitol building which was buzzing loudly on Tuesday about a possible Brown victory and the dramatic implications on health care reform.

Liberal blogs were apoplectic on Tuesday night.

"Health Care Comes to a Screeching Halt," blared the headline on

"This isn't some isolated fluke that can be chalked up to a bad candidate," lamented

In other words, this was a real defeat, with real consequences for President Obama's agenda.

In other words, the S.S. Health Care is taking on water.

And it may well sink.