Today was the final day that the Republican-led Senate could pass a health care bill with only fifty-one votes. Under Senate procedure, budget measures can pass through the end of the fiscal year under the reconciliation process with mere majority support; once that window closes, a free-standing health care bill would lay vulnerable to the filibuster’s sixty-vote threshold applicable to all other legislation. As became clear a few days ago when Maine Senator Susan Collins joined Senators John McCain and Rand Paul (and their forty-eight Democratic colleagues) in opposing the latest iteration of this zombie bill, Republicans do not yet have the votes to accomplish their seven-year promise of radically reshaping the American health care system.
The entire multi-part Republican effort to dismantle the current health care regime has been rather surreal. Continue reading