An argument against the health care bill is that, as Jefferson said, “Great innovations should not be forced upon slender majorities.” As a historical matter, you can find cases where this was done (two that come to mind are the renewal of the draft in 1940 (or maybe it was 1941), which passed by one vote in the House, and the [Cherokee] Removal Act of 1830, which survived the key procedural challenge in the House by one vote).
More generally, the proposition that broad bipartisan changes are somehow better than partisan ones is far from clear. You can find plenty of major errors made by supermajorities (Prohibition) that reflected a kind of group-think mentality. And you don’t often hear folks in parliamentary democracies lamenting the lack of bipartisan support–they just assume that the Government will put through its program and, if people don’t like it, they’ll vote somebody else in the next time. The fetish for bipartisanship seems to be distinctly American.
The Constitution is an interesting case study of this issue. Here were the ratification votes on the original document in the 13 states:
New Jersey (unanimous)
North Carolina (195-77)
South Carolina (149-73)
New Hampshire (57-47)
New York (30-27)
Rhode Island (34-32)
Take a close look at the votes in the last five states in my list. Those were close. If those states had taken Jefferson’s advice about slender majorities, would the Constitution have been ratified?