I’ve been poking around some sources in Washington, DC (and combining this with what I’ve heard from our TPMDC team) and my sense is that Health Care Reform is both dead and not dead. Let’s say it’s among the Undead. There does seem to be some continuing effort to see how a Senate bill plus amending bill deal might work — both for what would be needed in political terms and what would be workable under reconciliation rules. But there’s also a lot of happy talk about generally marginal and meaningless reforms that might be pushed through as consolation prizes. And what seems unmistakably clear is that the White House is taking an extremely hands off approach to the whole situation.
My strongest sense however is not so much that decisions have been made to drop reform as that it’s something like a matter of survivors walking around — half dazed — after some sort of natural disaster. There is no plan. It actually seems highly, highly fluid and possibly susceptible to dramatic change if any of the key players assert themselves. But I’m not sure there’s anyone really ready to do that, unless rank-and-file Democrats and Reform supporters assert themselves.