ust over a week ago, passage of a landmark federal health-care bill seemed a dead certainty. But the flip of a single U.S. Senate seat has changed all that, leaving the Democratic Party highly uncertain about how — or whether — to proceed. Given the current flux in Washington, a panel of MIT health-care experts assembled yesterday to assess the situation, often hammering home the idea that political half-measures will yield little in tangible health-care results. “You can’t break this bill apart and have it work,” said MIT economist Jonathan Gruber. “It’s all or nothing at this point. The Democrats, and essentially the president, have to decide if they’re willing to go for it all, or are willing to live with nothing.”First, though, Gruber, a central architect of the Massachusetts health-care system that has served as the model for the congressional legislation, acknowledged his extreme chagrin over the political reversal...
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