The significance of Sen. Arlen Specter's (Pa.) decision to abandon the Republican Party and become a Democrat has been "overblown," Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownTrump, House GOP could clash over 'Buy America' Four takeaways from Carson's confirmation hearing Carson: Don’t ‘pull the rug out’ on ObamaCare without replacement MORE (D-Ohio) said Wednesday.

During a conference call with reporters, Brown was asked whether Specter's party shift enhances Democrats' chances of passing a major healthcare reform bill this year.

"I don't think it has that much impact. I think the Specter party switch is probably overblown by all of us," Brown said, who also said he always expected Specter would collaborate on health legislation this year.

Echoing Specter's comment Tuesday that he won't be an automatic vote on all Democratic bills -- or to break a GOP filibuster -- Brown said that one senator flipping to the majority isn't the same thing as if Democrats increased their margin by several members.

- Jeffrey Young