While it's not the perfect bill (a perfect bill could never be passed), the obstructionism that was displayed over a life-or-death matter was sickening and sad. No, Republicans should not have been shut out from the beginning, but let's be realistic: not one Republican would have supported any progress on the issue because of how the party has evolved to work regardless of how early they were involved. The same people against progress on this issue would have been against social security and medicare and, in ideological terms, would also be against something as fundamental as public education (government takeover of education, my hard-earned tax money going to educate the lazy (that's right-wing codespeak for anyone who isn't white), hopeless lower classes when I should be paying for my own children, blah blah) or the post office (I don't want the government handling my personal mail!).
We love pretending that we're independent frontier-folk and we don't need the government, but if you got sick or your uninsured neighbor got sick, the costs would be unfathomable, humiliating, and ruinous. In that event, all the absurd nationalistic rhetoric where we cheer that we have the best health care in the world (which in reality we don't) won't make you feel better while you slip through the enormous cracks that exist in supposedly one of the wealthiest nations in the world.
And, no, I'm not an across-the-board liberal or lefty - I'm concerned about unnecessary taxes, wasteful spending, and debt. I'm pragmatic and believe that taxes should go to things that are important. Health care is one of the important things.