The lobbying armies of the status quo did a great job of scaring the hell out of people last year ("Are you going to let a bureaucrat get between you and your doctor?"), and the pro-health reform forces have been afraid of their own shadows ever since Scott Brown's victory.
That means the whole mess will either get shoved on a high shelf in hopes we'll forget about it and move on, or the Democrats will pass some window dressing so empty as to be effectively meaningless.
It will be years before anybody even dares to think of reforming the system again, maybe after health care claims one out of every two dollars spent in the economy, rather than the current one out of six. Meanwhile, the Europeans will continue enjoying better and cheaper health care than we have.
But eventually, in a desperate effort to remain globally competitive, American companies will begin to drop or severely curtail health care insurance for their employees, and many of us will discover to our dismay that coverage is not a God-given right of employment.
Only when the have-nots finally outnumber the I've-got-mine-so-screw-yous will congressional town-hall meetings begin calling for the head of anyone who doesn't promise to deliver on national health care, pronto.
Sadly, it will already be too late for a lot of people.