Critical Condition

Kennedy’s Passing

Today, the nation mourns the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy, one of the most influential senators of the 20th century. Later, when the eulogies end, his death may impact the health-care debate in unpredictable ways. It could push Democrats towards a more partisan approach (if that’s possible) by redoubling support for the “public option” to compete with private insurers and broad subsidies for Medicaid and SCHIP in a misguided attempt to claim victory for what Kennedy called “the cause of my life.” Or they could recognize — as Senator Kennedy sometimes did — that bipartisan compromise for half a loaf is better than none at all. Only time will tell. R.I.P.