Opponents of S. 1955, the small business health plan bill, today succeeded at blocking its passage through the Senate.

The bill would set up a system of insured, multistate small business association health plans along with a national health insurance regulatory system.

Democrats have been threatening to try to kill the bill by filibustering, or engaging in a seemingly endless debate against the bill in the Senate.

Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., the bill author, and other bill supporters have been trying to ward off the possibility of a filibuster by rounding up the 60 Senate votes needed to pass a cloture motion, or anti-filibuster measure.

Today, only 55 senators voted for the cloture motion.

Senate Democrats repeated the arguments of other bill opponents that the bill would gut the state health insurance consumer protection system, but they also complained bitterly about supporters’ refusal to let them help shape S. 1955 or even give Democrats a serious chance to express their views about the bill.

Republicans had dubbed this week “health week” and had hoped to pass several bills. In the end, none of the bills passed.

“With the one week this year that Republicans in the Senate chose to devote to health care, they chose legislation that would have done real harm to the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement about the S. 1955 cloture motion.

The results of the cloture motion vote are on the Web at Document Link