I presented the following theory to two notable health care commentators a few nights ago. Congressmen are looking to sell their voters for the highest "price" possible and they know Obama really wants, and indeed needs, to win a health care victory. As health care reform "falls apart," these Congressmen face the risk that they will get nothing for those votes. Suddenly their cartel falls apart and they lower the price for those votes. A deal is then possible and Obama buys the votes at the lower price.
What appears to be pessimistic news for health care reform can in fact be optimistic news. Another implication of this theory is that a lot of the "news" along the way, concerning the fate of reform, is simply noise.
I don't know what is the "p" of an extended coverage bill passing, but I believe that p has stayed fairly constant so far.
There are plenty of games in which the equilibrium and the true offer curves are not revealed until the final period. When it comes to health care, we're not yet at the end.