What is it about the Bay State?
It was there that a 2006 reform got people talking again about health reform in a big way. (Maine and California got some attention in 2003 for reforms, but not as much.) The Massachusetts law was widely scrutinized (including by us at Health Access), either as a reform to emulate or to indicate what was missing.
So it is strange that the election in that state tomorrow for U.S. Senate matters so much. After all, Massachusetts voters already have had a very similar health reform for a couple of years, and have shown no sign of seeking to repeal it.
The concern is that if the Democrat loses, then supporters of health reform only have 59, rather than the needed supermajority of 60 votes. There may be other options, from trying to pass something before a new Senator is seated (there’s been lots of lame duck sessions over the years), to simply having the House adopt the Senate bill as is (as Jon Cohn describes here). As Ezra Klein writes, there should be no question that the health reform push needs to go on, regardless of what happens.
As tweeted at @healthaccess and @sovernnation, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told KCBS today that she was not worried about Massachusetts Senate race, she was confident Coakley will win… and that they will pass health care “one way or another.”
We’ll see what way, in just a day…