It’s hard to imagine a more negative result for health care reform than Martha Coakley’s loss in yesterday’s US Senate election in Massachusetts. Obviously by failing to hold the seat for the Democrats she lost the filibuster-proof majority. Compounding the damage is the (incorrect) conclusion people will draw that Massachusetts-style health reform is unpopular in Massachusetts, where it’s been enacted, and therefore will be unpopular nationwide. That’s going to make the pending reform bills an even harder sell among jittery pols and the public.
What I had expected was that reform would pass and a lot of people would be unhappy initially, but that by Election Day 2010 Democrats’ popularity would rebound as some of the early benefits of reform (such as a ban on medical underwriting) started to take effect. That looks less likely now.
Mike Capuano would have been a much better candidate.January 20, 2010