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.