Democrats may not finish work on healthcare this year, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) asserted Wednesday.

Pryor told reporters that there's a "real possibility" that talks could break down, leaving lawmakers without a healthcare bill going into the 2010 midterm elections.

"There’s a possibility, a real possibility, that health care reform will not get done this year," Pryor said in a conference call with reporters, as reported by the Arkansas News.

Pryor signaled a pessimistic note that progress could be made, and predicted that a parliamentary maneuver to bypass filibuster rules in the Senate would even be used.

"I think it’s people talking right now over on the House side trying to figure out a way forward on health care, but my sense is, in the end reconciliation will not even be attempt," he said.

Not finishing healthcare would be a body blow to congressional Democrats, who have concentrated for months at their own political danger on health reform. 

House and Senate leaders are considering how to move forward with their efforts, with Democratic leaders considering a number of options to move forward in the wake of Republicans' special election win last week in Massachusetts.

"I don’t know of any hard and fast plan that anyone is really pushing," Pryor said. "I think people are just talking to see at this moment in time what’s possible and what’s best.”

Pryor told reporters that it's important for Democrats to frame health reform, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected to reduce the deficit over time, as part of their larger deficit reduction efforts.