THE BLOG

Rockefeller, Health Reform Advocate, Leaving Senate

FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2009, file photo Senate Finance Committee member Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., holds up a report ab
FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2009, file photo Senate Finance Committee member Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., holds up a report about underpayment to consumers during the markup of health care legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington. U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller said Friday, Jan. 11, 2012, that he will not seek a sixth term in 2014, a half-century after he emerged from one of America’s most recognizable dynasties to land in West Virginia and climb atop its political ranks. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller's decision not to seek a sixth term doesn't just mean the end of a political dynasty or an opportunity for Republicans to pick up a Senate seat next year.

Rockefeller's departure from the Senate also means Congress is losing one of its staunchest advocates for progressive health care policies.

Rockefeller's support for the legislation that became President Barack Obama's health care reform law in 2010 gave it some liberal credibility. He's also been a fierce defender of Medicaid and Medicare and was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Children's Health Insurance Program in 1997.

Mary Agnes Carey at Kaiser Health News has more here.