Still, progressives and their lobbying organizations held out hope, and some actually believed that a public option would prevail. Writing on The Nation’s Web site, John Nichols noted that the health care debate “has already provided more than enough disappointment for Americans who recognize the need for a thorough reordering of the way in which this nation meets the medical needs of its populace.” Without Democratic support on the key Senate committees, health reform “will not advance,” Nichols said. “What we will get, at best is insurance reform.”

That appears to be what the Senate Finance chairman had in mind all along. “We got Baucused,” one single-payer advocate remarked after the vote, further explaining: “I guess his name is now a verb: kind of like bend over because you just got Baucused.”

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Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.