Nominally at least that means that health reform is now in a legislative dead zone—there aren’t the votes in the House for a bill without a public option and there aren’t the votes in the Senate for a bill with them.
Like Yglesias, I doubt the progressive Dems in the House will actually kill a bill without a public option, but it would be interesting to see them threaten it. One story I rarely here mentioned is that the Blue Dogs need health reform far more than the liberals do. A failed health reform effort would be very bad for Obama's presidency and toxic for Democrats in the 2010 midterms, as it was in 1994. If that happens, it won't be the liberals who lose their seats. It'll be the ones from the moderate districts (i.e.: the Blue Dogs).