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Could it be that Daschle's fate sealed the fate of a public option?
Or was it doomed from the get go?

Would a better health care reform bill have passed if Max Baucus and
Obama had given up on Republicans back in June?

What would have happened if there had never been the prospect of 60
Democratic caucus votes?  Or 59, for that matter -- what if Franken
has lost, and/or Specter had remained a Republican?

And what if Ned Lamont had become the Senator from Connecticut in

All What-Ifs.  For what did happen continue below for the chronology
of Health Care Reform.

January 2009

 The new Senate is composed of 55 Democrats, Bernie Sanders and Joe
Lieberman (both of whom caucus with the Democrats) and 41 Republicans.

 Roland Burris, the new junior Senator from Illinois, is seated after
much controversy as the 56th Democratic Senator.

 The Minnesota Senate election and a 59th Democratic caucus vote is
still up in the air.  While Franken is proclaimed the winner by the
Election Board, a election contest suit is filed by Coleman,
preventing a 59th Democratic seat from being filled in the Senate for
an unknown duration.

 Obama HHS Secretary nominee Tom Daschle is outed for tax
irregularities, and withdraws.  The man who was the expert on health
care reform and pre-designated to lead the administration's health care
bill through Congress is gone.

February 2009

 Stimulus bill passes the Senate with three Republican votes, Snowe,
Collins and Specter.

March 2009

 Obama nominates Kathleen Sebelius to be HHS Secretary.  Not only
will she barely be heard from with respect to the health care bill,
but by her appointment Obama gives up a plausible shot at winning a
Senate seat from Kansas in 2010.

April 2009

 Arlen Specter becomes a Democrat, creating 59 Democratic caucus votes.
Not enough to break a filibuster yet, but with the eventual seating of
Franken, 60 votes are in sight.

May 2009

 ConservaDem Senators first speak out against a public option.

 Max Baucus, the Gang of Six, and the Senate Finance Committee fail
to produce a bill.

June 2009

 Talk of using reconciliation to pass health care reform starts to

 Max Baucus, the Gang of Six, and the Senate Finance Committee fail
to produce a bill.

July 2009

 Al Franken is seated in the US Senate, producing a nominal 60
Democratic caucus votes.

 The Senate HELP committee votes for a health reform bill with a
public option.

 Three House committees vote for various versions of a health reform
bill with a public option.

 Max Baucus, the Gang of Six, and the Senate Finance Committee fail
to produce a bill.

August 2009

  Ted Kennedy dies, leaving a nominal 59 Democratic caucus votes, not
enough to break a filibuster.  Previously he had been unable to
participate fully in the formation and debate on the bill, and now the
respect and presence he had in the Senate are gone for good.

 Congress recesses without action on health care.  Tea Party protests at
town hall meetings erupt and become the major news story.

 President Obama stumps for health care reform as his job performance
and favorability ratings slowly decline.

 Max Baucus, the Gang of Six, and the Senate Finance Committee fail
to produce a bill.

September 2009

 Obama gives a speech on health care to a joint session of Congress.
Hopes run high that with the speech, momentum will build towards
getting a reasonable bill passed quickly.

 The Massachusetts legislature passes legislation allowing Governor
Patrick to appoint Kennedy's replacement, once again producing a
nominal 60-vote Democratic caucus.  Senator Kirk is seated.

 Reid threatens to use reconciliation to pass health care reform.

 Alan Grayson gives his 'Die quickly!' speech on the House floor.

 Max Baucus, the Gang of Six, and the Senate Finance Committee fail
to produce a bill.

October 2009

 Max Baucus produces a bill of his own, and the Senate Finance
Committee finally passes it.  It contains no public option.  Olympia
Snowe votes for the bill.

November 2009

 Harry Reid produces his own bill, molded from the two Senate
committee versions.  It contains an opt-out public option.

 Special elections for the House.  Democrats gain two votes for
health care reform, one in an upset in NY 23, and one from an expected
win in CA 10.

 Speaker Pelosi concludes that there are not enough votes for a
strong public option (using Medicare + 5%) rates.  The House votes for
a weaker version, and it narrowly passes despite the last-minute
introduction of the Stupak amendment, restricting abortion funding.  A
single Republican votes for the bill (Cao, from Louisiana).

 The Senate begins debate on its version of the bill with the
entire Democratic caucus voting in favor and the entire Republican
caucus voting against.  Nelson, Lieberman, Landrieu and Lincoln speak
in opposition to a public option.

December 2009

 Reid seeks a compromise.  One is worked out by a committee of 10
Senators, including Ben Nelson, and it gets Lieberman's thumbs up, if
not his outright commitment.  The compromise involves an expansion of
Medicare and allowed buyins to the federal health system.  It is sent
to the CBO for scoring.

 Lieberman reneges on the agreement.

 The White House orders Democrats to lick shine Lieberman's
boots and strip out any provisions he doesn't agree with.

 Howard Dean speaks out against the stripped down bill.

 The White House speaks out against Howard Dean, former Chairman of
the Democratic Party.

 Nelson reneges on the agreement.

 Former President Clinton endorses the bill.

 Nelson demands further castration of the bill for his vote on closure.

 Nelson extracts his pound of flesh.  Senator Sanders of Vermont gets
extra money Community Health Centers. The Democrats claim they have
the votes to pass the Senate bill.

 The first procedural hurdle is overcome with the necessary 60 votes,
every Democratic Caucus member vs. every Republican caucus member.

 The second procedural vote takes place; the vote is 60-39.

 The final procedural vote takes place late afternoon on the Wednesday
before Christmas.  The vote is 60-40, setting the stage for the up-or-down
vote on the bill itself the morning of Christmas Eve.

 The final vote count on the actual legislation is unknown, but there
is no doubt it will pass when it is voted on.

Originally posted to jpmassar on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 02:31 PM PST.


The Senate bill

34%15 votes
25%11 votes
39%17 votes

| 43 votes | Vote | Results

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