Done Deal

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The House just voted 220-207 to pass the tweaked package of health reform fixes approved by the Senate earlier today and sent back to the lower chamber for one final vote.

It may be hard to believe, but after all the vitriolic town halls, the missed deadlines, the desperate search for 60 in the Senate, the thousand deaths and rebirths of the public option, the parliamentary jujitsu and the nail-biter votes, the great Congressional health care debate of 2009/2010 is finally over.

There is no panacea for our complex health care system, and reform will certainly be revisited in the future. But it will likely be many years before the political appetite for such an endeavor returns. Lawmakers have plenty to keep them busy in the mean time: financial regulatory reform, energy, immigration and education, as well as their own re-election efforts. As for implementation of the new law, Karen and Kate have a comprehensive look at the challenges ahead.

Democrats and Republicans remain bitterly divided over health reform and the political implications of its passage have yet to become clear, but I imagine — at least for the moment — everyone involved is glad the ordeal on the Hill is done.