A Senate majority in favor of health care reform is a Christmas present not only for Barack Obama but for the entire U.S. economy, as well. The enormous costs of providing health insurance to employees is a millstone around the necks of thousands of American businesses; it was instrumental in driving General Motors into bankruptcy. And smaller businesses that are unable to offer health insurance to their employees have problems in recruiting and retaining people.

That’s why it’s so surprising that labor unions didn’t exercise more political pressure in favor of health care reform, thereby opposing the health care industry that is truly one of the losers in this battle.

That reform even came about is proof not only of Obama’s popularity but also of the parliamentary skills in the Democratic congress, above all the talents of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. And the urgency of the matter also helped a great deal: one needn’t be an ultraliberal to see that the current state of American health care couldn’t continue.

Final passage of the legislation won’t bring immediate benefits to the U.S. economy, but America’s business posture should noticeably improve in a few short years – provided the new changes manage to slow health care costs.

The Senate’s version of the bill is superior in this regard; if it emerges from the reconciliation procedure intact, that should be possible.

Those who consider the legislation too cautious and inadequate may be certain that this will not be the final health care bill. The decades of paralysis are now past and American politicians have shown they are capable of getting things done in an important key area.