Reform's not dead, but may be less ambitious

Healthcare reform is again at the top of the news, so we'll give you a sampling of the latest. Here are today's headlines.

  • President Obama signaled that he might be willing to scale back his proposed health care overhaul to a version that could attract bipartisan support, as the White House and Congressional Democrats grappled with a political landscape transformed by the Republican victory in the Massachusetts Senate race.

  • PhRMA, the drug industry association, as well as companies including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and GlaxoSmithKline, voiced support for some kind of healthcare overhaul.

  • Democrats started talking about paring down the healthcare reform package to so that they could get some kind of bill--albeit a smaller one--through Congress. 

  • Don't count healthcare reform out yet: Democrats won't have 60 votes in the Senate any more, but they will have 59, which is a wider majority than presidents from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush needed to win significant legislative victories.

  • Pharma execs may back reform, but stock-market investors might interpret its death as a positive, realizing only that drugmakers won't have to cut $80 billion in costs--and not that overall drug sales would have increased under reform.

As lawmakers bicker and finagle in the coming days, there will be plenty more healthcare news. We'll keep you posted on the headlines affecting pharma.

- see the New York Times piece
- check out the Wall Street Journal story
- read another take from the WSJ
- find an AP analysis
- get a viewpoint from Salon