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Republican win puts US healthcare reform under pressure

This article was originally published in Scrip

Executive Summary

The political upset caused by the surprise election of Republican Scott Brown as US Senator from Massachusetts has made the passage of a sweeping US healthcare reform measure much shakier. Mr Brown's succession of Senator Paul Kirk – who was filling the seat vacated by the death of Senator Edward Kennedy until an election could be mounted – leaves the Democrats with a still sizeable 59-41 majority in the Senate, but which is one vote shy of the 60 needed to cut off debate and bring a bill to a vote. The healthcare reform bill passed by the Senate in December needs to be replaced with a new measure that merges that version with the one passed by the House of Representatives.

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