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Election Effect on Health Care Debate

WASHINGTON (AP) - A stunning loss in Massachusetts has cost President Barack Obama and the Democrats the 60-vote Senate majority they've needed to push health care overhaul to the verge of enactment.

Now what? For Democrats, it's miles of bad road in any direction.

Obama and party leaders anxiously worked through fallback options - none good - for salvaging the half-century quest to provide health insurance to all Americans.

Democrats don't appear to have enough time to resolve differences between the House and Senate bills - and get cost and coverage estimates back from the Congressional Budget Office - before Republican Scott Brown is sworn in.

That leaves House Democrats with the unpalatable option of passing a Senate bill many disagree with.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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