Is health care> reform dead? That's the fear among many Democrats following yesterday s upset victory by Republican Scott Brown in the Massachusetts senate race for Ted Kennedy's old seat.
The win gives the Republicans a critical 41st vote in the Senate, enabling them to block passage of the health care bill President Obama s top legislative goal. Brown indicated he would oppose the plan if elected and House and Senate Democrats appear unlikely to try and push the bill through before he's seated. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said after the victory last night that Brown would be seated as soon as his paperwork is received. Virginia Democrat Jim Webb also put out a statement saying it would be fair and prudent to suspend voting on a bill until Brown is seated.
Health care stocks soared yesterday in anticipation of a Brown win, and analysts say there could be more upside ahead. The health care SPDR ETF (XLV),
Indeed, while the old thinking on health care was to avoid companies with lots of U.S. exposure, some strategists are now arguing the opposite. The British biotech firm Shire (SHPGY)
This article is an excerpt from our Early Bird markets story, which was originally published the morning of Jan. 20.>