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Senate Upset Foils Democrats' Health Reform Agenda
Date:1/20/2010

n, disagreed. "I don't think it was a referendum," he said. "I think fundamentally this came down to two campaigns: one that was pretty effective and one that wasn't, in an environment that was probably not as good as when Obama ran."

And while the vote fundamentally changes the calculus in the Senate, it doesn't alter the need for specific reforms, Restuccia stressed.

"I think there's still an urgency to pass something," he said.

In the wake of the Senate shakeup, Democratic leaders in both chambers were pondering ways to move the legislation forward. The House could pass the Senate version of the bill, avoiding another Senate vote, although that scenario seemed unlikely given the many concessions House members would have to make.

In remarks to MSNBC, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), a progressive Democrat, conceded it may be time for his party to take a new tact on health care.

"I think we've made some crucial mistakes along the way by making this more complicated than it needs to be," he said. Weiner said he supports a "much simpler approach" to health care as part of a jobs bill.

Pryor said she hopes that whatever Congress decides to do will ultimately salvage some key elements of the legislation, including an expansion of Medicaid and health insurance market reforms.

While public support for "health reform" may be lagging, Restuccia said the public remains strongly in favor of specific elements of health reform.

"What the package is, how to move forward, is going to be the question now," he said. "I still think it's very high on the agenda, and I would be surprised if it disappears between now and the next election."

More information

For more on what the House and Senate proposed, visit the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.



SOURCES: Carol Pryor,
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