Franken’s final victory in July 2009 made it 60. But a month later, the health care bill’s most ardent champion, Massachusetts’ Ted Kennedy, died.
Kennedy’s temporarily appointed replacement, Paul Kirk, could just as easily be considered the “60th vote.” Or, just as plausibly, it was Connecticut independent Joe Lieberman, who held out until the controversial “public option” was jettisoned. Or perhaps more famously, the distinction could go to conservative Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson, who held out for a Medicaid provision widely derided as the “Cornhusker Kickback.”
Whoever takes the credit or the blame, the Senate approved the law in December 2009 on a vote of 60-39, the minimum necessary to avoid a GOP filibuster.
There's only a few points worth considering about passing the Affordable Care Act, aka the ACA. First, the ACA wouldn't have passed if Sen. Franken hadn't voted for cloture. In fact, the ACA wouldn't have happened if a single Democrat had insisted that the ACA been patient-centered instead of it being bureaucrat-centered.
The truth is that Sen. Franken, just like all the other Senate Democrats, understood that voting for cloture was the same as voting for final passage of the bill. Sen. Franken understood that because Harry Reid, Dick Durbin and Chuck Schumer had whipped the vote.
Thanks to Sen. Franken and the other 59 Senate Democrats' voting for the ACA, 6,200,000 people who bought their health insurance through the individual market have gotten their policies cancelled. A high percentage of the people who've gotten cancellation notices are paying higher premiums and higher deductibles for policies that include coverages for things people don't need.
Also, had Sen. Franken fought for the Constitution, specifically the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, instead of being Harry Reid's puppet, the Justice Department wouldn't have sued the Little Sisters of the Poor:
The Department of Justice (DOJ) argued in legal papers filed today that a Roman Catholic group of nuns won’t have to offer contraception and possible abortion-inducing drugs in their employee health plans, but only if they sign a government form that delegates the action to a third party. Refusing to do so could result in steep fines.
Without all 60 Democrats voting for cloture on the Affordable Care Act, none of these awful things would be happening.
The Star Triubune can question Sen. Franken over whether he cast the 60th vote for the ACA or not. It's largely irrelevant to the people who've received cancellation notices. Their biggest concerns are that a) they're paying significantly more, they're getting an inferior product and c) they can't keep the policy or the doctor that they wanted.
That's why Sen. Franken is facing a difficult re-election fight.