The Senate gathered this morning, passed the bill, which was a foregone conclusion, and headed home for the holidays. Now, the tricky maneuvers of merging bills must take place. I expect that the President will invite the interested parties to a discussion and then it will get passed, he'll sign it, and then they will try to sell it. That process likely will begin with the State of the Union Address.
Over the next months the rhetoric will get pretty hot and heavy. The Republicans will, as they are already doing, going overboard with casting aspersions. Democrats will remain a fractious lot, but then the Democrats are the only semblance of a big tent -- which is why the debate over health care has been an intramural one.
The vote has been cast and we've moved closer to universal coverage than we've ever been at. I want to remind the conservatives in the room that John McCain, in the debates agreed with President Obama that access to affordable health care is a right not a privilege. Where the disagreed was on how to get there. McCain wanted to use tax credits (I think it was about 5000). The President hoped to get a government offered program. The reality is that the recently passed bill is sort of inbetween -- that is the government will provide subsidies for those who need help, but there won't be a government option.
I'm going to leave you with a link to Timothy Egan's NYTimes essay called "Profiles in Cowardice." I think he gets it right.
Now, I'll pivot from politics to Christmas for the rest of the day!!