The Republican members of Congress have made it clear that they aren't going to vote for a national health bill no matter what form it takes but were eager to insert an amendment into it that would ban any provision for coverage of elective abortion.
I think the Democrats should go ahead and pass a Senate bill that retains the abortion exclusion and send it back to the House. If it fails, so be it but it will be very clear that the failure of the bill was not about abortion.
In this way, the Democrats remain a big tent party, not strictly for or against abortion. Democrats will never be the party of hard line pro lifers but they will garner significant support from those who believe that the emphasis should be in placing further limits on abortion and decreasing it's frequency.
The Republicans will be the Party that supports criminalization of abortion in all circumstances. That will be their litmus test of acceptability for party members and office holders alike. I doubt they will ever garner many votes from pro choicers.
It's the smart move for the Democrats. It's in keeping with the way the party has been moving. I think the liberal wing will go along. They won't be sorry in the long run or maybe they will but if you're out there on the fringes, you have to learn to live with disappointment. I know I have.