Don’t Worry about Health Care

I have not seen the preliminary exit polling numbers in the Massachussets special election for Senator, but Five Thirty Eight’s latest model shows Republican Scott Brown as a 3 to 1 favorite to win the Senate seat over Democrat Martha Coakley.

The FiveThirtyEight Senate Forecasting Model, which correctly predicted the outcome of all 35 Senate races in 2008, now regards Republican Scott Brown as a 74 percent favorite to win the Senate seat in Massachusetts on the basis of new polling from ARG, Research 2000 and InsiderAdvantage which show worsening numbers for Brown’s opponent, Martha Coakley.

If Scott Brown wins, it will leave the Democrats with only 59 seats in the Senate, and take away their filibuster proof supermajority.

But, no need for alarm!  As Washington Post megablogger Ezra Klein points out in his excellent post, the Senate’s version of the health care  bill has already passsed.  Democrats can simply pass this Senate bill version in the House, and Obama can sign it into law.

Scott Brown’s victory would change the math in the Senate but not the fundamentals of the bill. It’s true, of course, that the addition of a 41st Republican means that the GOP can thwart the will of the 59 Democrats in the majority and successfully filibuster legislation. But this particular bill has already passed the Senate. It can be signed into law without ever seeing Harry Reid’s desk again.

It may not be the perfect bill, or the bill that you want, but it’s a step in the right direction.

UPDATE – 01/19/2010 2:14 PM EST:

Paul Krugman agrees.

UPDATE – 01/19/2010 8:02 EST:

Dana Bash just reported on CNN that she spoke to several House Democrats, and they are all saying to a man that they will absolutely not pass the Senate version of the bill (that has already passed the Senate).  If Democrats do not pass health care, they will have no one to blame but themselves.

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