Health Care Status

There were no negotiations over the weekend in Washington, D.C. on health care reform, but there was still a lot of work and jockeying going on behind the scenes, as everyone waited to see what would happen in the Massachusetts Senate race.

And the cracks in the Democratic facade were beginning to appear even before Election Day.

In Ohio, Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH), a freshman who represents much of Cincinnati, said he would not vote for a health care bill unless the plan has the controversial abortion language backed by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI).

"I believe in clarity and simplicity, and we should make it simple and clear that taxpayer funds aren't going to abortion coverage," Driehaus told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Right now, there is no way that the Stupak language is going to be in the final bill.

We'll see if Driehaus really follows through on that threat, because he is one of about 10-12 pro-life Democrats who could find themselves in a similar situation.

As for the final bill, reports over the weekend indicated that some portions of it had been submitted already to the Congressional Budget Office for a full review.

But the sections that were still pending are the ones that are the most controversial.

Democrats were again talking about what they could do if Democrats lose in Massachusetts, like hold off seating Scott Brown until they pass the bill, or just have the House approve the Senate passed bill.

Both of those seem highly unlikely.  Delaying the seating of Brown would draw a huge negative reaction, while a defeat in Massachusetts would open the flood gates of Democrats who want to find a reason not to vote for this bill.

It isn't off base to say that Democrats need to win in Massachusetts, but even if that happens, health care is not certain to get through the Congress in coming weeks.