Scott Brown, having won the Massachusetts special congressional election campaigning largely on an anti-health reform platform could spell doom for embattled health reform legislation.
The ironies that this comes in Massachusetts — the one state with something approximating universal healthcare — and that this election fills the Senate seat that had been held by Ted Kennedy — perhaps the most outspoken proponent of universal healthcare coverage prior to losing his battle with cancer —has not been lost on the pundits.
This may, in fact, leave the healthcare reform battle dead in the water. Slate presents a good overview of the Administration’s best options for getting something done in this arena. The options basically boil down to:
1) Ram it through before Scott Brown takes his seat
2) Pass the Senate bill as is so that the bill need not return to that chamber for a vote
3) Impose a nuclear option-style procedural change that prevents a Senate filibuster
4) Some other unlikely scenario such as getting some Republicans to sign on
We should know in the next few weeks if health reform is going to be a reality or if this will truly become President Obama’s Waterloo.