CAFFERTY: The Republicans' victory in Massachusetts could very well be the final nail in the coffin for the Democrats' health care reform.
Exit poll data from one Republican firm shows the health care bill was the single most important issue to Massachusetts voters. This poll found 52 percent of those surveyed are opposed to health care reform; and 42 percent say they cast their ballot to help stop the overhaul.
Without the 60 vote filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, the Democrats are left with a few options - none of them all that good... and most involving complicated legislative procedures.
The house could pass the bill that cleared the Senate as is - but several House Democrats are suggesting they won't go for that.
The House could also pass the current Senate bill and then try to fix it with a procedure that only needs 51 votes to pass the Senate.
Or the Democrats could scrap what they have and just try to pass a bare-bones bill that includes some of the most popular initiatives.
Several senators - including democrat Jim Webb - are calling for health care reform to be suspended until Scott Brown is sworn in.
And it appears President Obama may be getting the message... he says that the Senate shouldn't jam health care through before Brown is seated: "People in Massachusetts spoke. He's got to be part of that process."
Here's my question to you: How should the Democrats proceed on health care now that they no longer have the votes to pass it in the Senate?
Jacques from Oregon writes:
Listen to Howard Dean. Sack the whole thing and start over and don't let the insurance lobby run the show, as it has done in the last few months. Otherwise, strip out the mandate, fines and taxes on Cadillac plans, and add in either a public option or buy-in to Medicare.
Danny from Brooklyn, New York writes:
The Democrats should push just as hard as they were before Massachusetts election. We have a lot on the table: terrorism, natural disasters, unemployment and the economic crisis. We shouldn't have to worry about health care in times like these. This should have been done many administrations ago.
Peter from Pasadena, California writes:
Start from scratch. Be incremental. What a profound waste of time health care reform has been. So many pressing and arguably more important issues have been set aside by congressional leadership to pass a bill that was an expensive overreach. Leadership has done a disservice to rank-and-file members of congress who seem to get it. Thank goodness the
Mass. voters have caused Congress and the president to take their foot off the gas and look both ways (before they cross voters).
Jack, They should NOT proceed with reform because it isn't reform. Since when do we call higher cost, lower quality and more red tape "reform?" Americans want this to stop and to move instead towards a plan that is BETTER and fair and put together in an open and transparent way. Remember that broken promise our president made?
Tracy from New York writes:
Gee, here's a novel idea: listen to The People! How about this one: Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the gang refrain from the insults and derogatory descriptions of the independent voters participating in Tea Party protests and sit down and listen to what they have to say?