Not so fast there, Ayn Rand fan. That graphic comes from a January 22 post called “It’s dead”, written by former Bush White House economist Keith Hennessey, a few days after a Republican had vanquished the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s would-be Democratic successor in Massachussetts, becoming the 41st, filibuster-enabling vote in the Senate against health care reform. At the time, Hennessey wrote this:
Yesterday I compared the comprehensive bill to Schrödinger’s cat: it was both alive and dead, and this uncertainty would be resolved only when we could see inside the box of the House Democratic Caucus. Speaker Pelosi opened the box for us yesterday:
“In its present form without any change, I don’t think it’s possible to pass the Senate bill in the House.”
But the House folding and passing the Senate bill was the highest probability path to a signed comprehensive law. The path the Speaker is pursuing instead, of getting the Senate to act on a separate second bill, is too hard to execute logistically, substantively, and politically…I wrote yesterday that the bill is not dead until the Speaker says it’s dead. I think she in effect did so yesterday. Based on this development I have increased my prediction of collapse to 90%, and I believe the comprehensive bill is dead.
However, Hennessey also wrote that one possible option for Democrats was a parliamentary maneuver called “reconciliation,” but that “neither the White House nor Congressional Democrats appear to have seriously considered using reconciliation as a substitute for the work already done.” But that has changed, and reconciliation is now at the heart of the Democratic game plan. The current proposed path to passage involves the complicated two-step of the House passing the Senate’s health care bill — substantially different than the House bill and anathema to some Democratic representatives — then bringing the bill into line with President Obama’s compromise legislation via reconciliation.