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Health Care Reform Bill Open Thread


Right now the House is debating the Health Care Reform bill. I’m listening to C-Span right now. If anyone else has been following the debate, please post your observations and reactions in this thread. According to Chris Bowers at Open Left, the only amendment that is being debated today is the Stupak amendment which bans people who get any government help in paying for their health insurance from getting coverage for abortion services.

According to Bowers, no progressive House members are blocking the amendment because of “Obama reassurances.” Bowers writes:

no pro-choice Democrats have threatened to vote against the bill as a result of this. Apparently, this is because of a rumor going around Congress that President Obama promised Henry Waxman that he will “personally” work to remove the language in conference. I feel so reassured.

Bowers says Bart Stupak (D-MI) is “taunting” progressives, claiming he has the votes to pass the amendment no matter what they do. On top of that the Catholic Bishops have endorsed the bill.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops delivered a critical endorsement to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday by signing off on late-night agreement to grant a vote on an amendment barring insurance companies that participate in the exchange from covering abortions.

Who is in charge here anyway?!

Ezra Klein on the Stupak deal:

The final compromises before a bill comes to the floor are never very pretty. This one, however, is worse than I anticipated. Opposition from anti-abortion Democrats, driven in large part by aggressive activism from the Catholic Church, forced Democratic leadership to allow a vote on Bart Stupak’s amendment limiting elective abortion coverage from both private and public insurers on the exchange. It reads:

The amendment will prohibit federal funds for abortion services in the public option. It also prohibits individuals who receive affordability credits from purchasing a plan that provides elective abortions. However, it allows individuals, both who receive affordability credits and who do not, to separately purchase with their own funds plans that cover elective abortions. It also clarifies that private plans may still offer elective abortions.

Because of the limits placed on the exchanges, most of the participants will have some form of premium credit or affordable subsidy. That means most will be ineligible for abortion coverage. The idea that people are going to go out and purchase separate “abortion plans” is both cruel and laughable. If this amendment passes, it will mean that virtually all women with insurance through the exchange who find themselves in the unwanted and unexpected position of needing to terminate a pregnancy will not have coverage for the procedure. Abortion coverage will not be outlawed in this country. It will simply be tiered, reserved for those rich enough to afford insurance themselves or lucky enough to receive from their employers.

Please post what you know and what you think in the comments. Thank you!

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157 Responses

  1. So, let me get this straight… they’ll refuse to fund abortions out of the public purse for people so poor they need help paying for their health insurance through the public purse, thereby guaranteeing those people will be poorer longer and need even more help from the public purse. Now how fiscally responsible is that?

    • It’s not all bad. They can go to a Christian Science practitioner if they want.

    • The government already refuses to pay for abortions for the poor. This is going to cut off the middle class from abortions unless they can pay out-of-pocket.

      This bill doesn’t even require ins. co’s to cover pelvic exams or birth control.

    • not only that but the people so poor that they couldn’t afford birth control since low cost birth control was stripped from the stimulus bills.

      I am vowing that I will support the opponent of any mf-er that votes for this. I don’t care how batsh*t that person seems. I’m done with reproductive rights being kicked around and if I have to go radical to prove my position on reproductive rights I will.

  2. As I seem to recall saying for the past few months, KILL THIS DAMN BILL NOW!

    It’s worse than the status quo in several ways. If you paid close attention you could see this obamination coming. This process needs to start over again from square one.

  3. I am very angry. Time to sweep them out no matter who replaces them. Democrats suck! Republicans suck! They’re all for the same corporations. If we can’t get anyone on our side, time to start messing with them and changing who’s in charge every five minutes. At least that will slow them down.

    • “Burn the fucker down” is the operative mode for 2010 and 12.

      • Yup. I was just telling my 19-year-old daughter and her friend the batshit insaneness of no women’s health coverage, but prayer healing is covered.

        They were both aghast. I told them to go back to campus tomorrow (they’re in college) and tell all their Obama-lovin’ female classmates what the One really thinks of them.

        I’m ready to start throwing the fuckers out, both R and D, like musical chairs until they get the message. Burn it down.

        • Let me add that I have no problem with the sick receiving prayers, chants, meditations, incense, interpretive dance, or anything else they think will help and will comfort them. But it’s not a basic HEALTH service.

  4. Weiner agreed to drop his single-payer vote in this “compromise.” Some compromise! Selling out women to pass something for Obama to sign.


  5. When did the Bishops start creating government policy?
    Is this Ireland in the 1950’s?
    “Off to the laundries, fallen women! And let this be a lesson to ya! “

  6. Chris Bowers’ list of Dems who might vote for the Stupak amendment, plus some Repubs who could be swayed.

    1-877-851-6437, 1-800-828-0498, or 1-800-614-2803.
    Altmire (PA-04)
    Baird (WA-03)
    Barrow (GA-12)
    Berry (AR-01)
    Boccieri (OH-16)
    Boren (OK-02)
    Bright (AL-02)
    Carney (PA-10)
    Childers (MS-01)
    Costello (IL-12)
    Cuellar (TX-28)
    Dahlkemper (PA-03)
    Davis, A. (AL-07)
    L. Davis (TN-04)
    Donnelly (IN-02)
    Driehaus (OH-01)
    Ellsworth (IN-08)
    Griffith (AL-05)
    Hill (IN-09)
    Holden (PA-17)
    Kildee (MI-05)
    Lipinski (IL-03)
    Lynch (MA-09)
    Marshall (GA-08)
    Matheson (UT-02)
    McIntyre (NC-07)
    Melancon (LA-03)
    Mollohan (WV-01)
    Oberstar (MN-08)
    Ortiz (TX-27)
    Peterson (MN-07)
    Pomeroy (ND-AL)
    Rahall (WV-03)
    Ross (AR-04)
    Shuler (NC-11)
    Skelton (MO-04)
    Snyder (AR-02)
    Spratt (SC-05)
    Tanner (TN-08)
    Taylor (MS-04)
    Visclosky (IN-01)
    Wilson (OH-06)

    Update: Possible Republicans to call as well:

    Biggert (R, IL-13)
    Castle (R, DE-AL)
    Dent (R, PA-15)
    Frelinghuysen (R, NJ-11)
    Kirk (R, IL-10)
    Capito (R, WV-02)
    Jenkins (R, KS-02)
    Lance (R, NJ-07)
    Lee, C. (R, NY-26)
    Paulsen (R, MN-03)

    • phone numbers for the D’s are above in the thread.

      • I doubt many Republicans are going to vote for the amendment because even Boehner is against it. They want the bill to fail.

        R’s may feel beholden to the RW nutcases though and vote for it.

    • Lee, C. (R, NY-26) Wow I doubt he’d vote for it, but he’s my congress critter so I’ll place a call “just in case”.

  7. Far be it from me to be optimistic about anything to do with the NEW DNC, but isn’t this just a maneuver to get the House bill passed? It seems like the idea is to give these Blue Dogs their day in the sun and then to cut the provision during the negotiations with the Senate. I really love Weiner and can not believe that he would disappoint us in the end. Of course, this is how I stayed a Democrat until 5/31. I may be a bit like Charlie Brown always trusting Lucy, but I do not think this provision will see the light of day.

    Of course, if I am wrong we can all take any money we would have given to any candidate and create a foundation to support women who choose to have abortions but have no insurance.

    • To me, it seems really unlikely that after using this maneuver to sucker in the Church, they’d then have the stones to turn around and screw them over. If it were progressives, hell yeah they’d double cross them in a flat second, but conservatives would scream bloody murder. I can’t see it. When even the Crown Prince of Whole Foods Nation, Bowers, can admit his King is full of it, well….

    • I really think you are fooling yourself, but hope not.

    • This is Obama’s bill. He doesn’t want abortion coverage. I don’t believe it will be in there regardless of what tinkering they do. I hope you’re right, but I doubt it.

    • Yes Honora, but why would they do that?

      • I guess I thought that Reid was ready to go nuclear or whatever they call it when they just need 50 votes and not 60. Then the bill goes to conference and the whole thing changes. Believe me I do not think this is going to be a good bill, but I think we will get a bill and I think this amendment will be gone. If that is not the deal with Weiner then I am ready to take my Valentine back from him. 😉

  8. The Democrat bill on health care has been a disaster from the very start. Everyone knew this bill was going to have major hurdles. There were some real possibilities for common ground to be established and a bill passed. But we have only the politics of personal political advantage from each of them.

    Kill this bill.
    Impeach them all.
    Let a revolution begin.

  9. Obama could not lead a kindergarden class to potty break without making a mess.

  10. Republicans shout down Democratic women on House floor.

    • That was totally disgusting and unprofessional.

    • What I’d like to know is where is the outrage breaking over the whole country like a tidal wave over this?

      That Wilson guy (was that his name? I don’t even care) called Obama a liar — one freaking word — and the OFB and fauxgressives went ballistic.

      Oh, I forgot, this is just a bunch of girls. Didn’t they get the STFU message during the primaries?

  11. This is from Think Progress on the Stupak amendment.

    Stupak and his allies want to go beyond Hyde. Under their amendment, women who purchase comprehensive private insurance packages — that include abortion services — would have to pay for the entire cost of the package (even if they qualify for subsidies).

    They’re arguing that the current firewall between public and private money is inadequate. If a woman uses federal subsidies to pay for a basic benefit, she would have more private money available to fund her abortion, they claim. Or, alternatively, “premiums paid to that plan in the form of taxpayer-funded subsidies help support that abortion coverage even if individual abortion procedures are paid for out of a separate pool of privately-paid premium dollars.” It’s the equivalent of arguing that women who receive abortions should not use public buses or highways to travel to the abortion clinic.

    • Why stop there, women should never be able to use mass transit, subsidized by public money because then they will have more money to pay for abortions. Women should get no federal support for anything, we keep saving all our pennies for abortions. Makes total sense.

      • I wouldn’t be surprised if the bill covers breast cancer for men, but not for women. They aren’t even requiring ins cos to pay for pelvic exams! But they do have to pay for prostate preventive exams.

      • Hmmm … I’ll have to check the sewing pattern catalogs to see if they started including burkas.

    • You can take public transit to a women’s clinic? Congress must not have thought of that yet.

      • For good measure they should also ban women from public highways either on foot or in a vehicle, lest they make their way to a free clinic to get any healthcare at all.

        • Since they are also banning coverage of birth control, a lot of women will be stuck at home being pregnant, I guess.

        • Don’t give em any ideas. We’ll be Saudi Arabia in no time where we aren’t allowed to leave the house with some sort of manfolk(whether it be clergy or relative) to drive or escort us.

    • Bernie Sanders made it sound yesterday like it was a lost case in the Senate too.

    • Not only is it morally repugnant, it plays into anti-government libertarian fears. Take one penny of government assistance, the government will dictate your care. Stupak doesn’t like abortions. Smith ain’t too keen on heart transplants. Jones, funnily enough, hates DS kids. Congress will pass a law deciding who can and can’t be treated and for what.

      Way to freaking go.

      • Can someone please spring me from mod? Thanks, love you lots. 😉

        • You’re lucky. We haven’t fed Spammy in days and he was shining up his best silver. The drool was puddling at his feet.

      • Is it time to bring up “death panels” again yet? 😉

        • I’ll give you a death panel… if this pregnancy is going to kill you, too freakin bad.. die

        • Yep, I’ve already heard “rationing seniors’ health care.” Can “socialized medicine” be far behind?

          But, folks, passing this health care bill will be HISTORIC brought to us by our historic prez.. (I can’t listen to any more of the speeches.)

    • It would seem “A Handmaid’s Tale” is being used as a blueprint for drafting legislation that affects women’s rights. I’m an “it’s my body and I’ll do what I want to” pro-choicer, but this whole thing makes absolutely no economic sense, as well as denying women the right to control over their bodies.
      You’d think insurance companies would be up in arms over this limitation. After all: it’s cheaper to provide birth control than to provide abortions; and it’s much cheaper to provide abortions than to provide pre-natal, delivery and post-natal services. You’d think the insurers would be clamoring to fund “preventative” care for women. What am I missing????????

  12. Malkin has the list.

  13. These 15 Democrats voted No on the final rule to allow a vote. They didn’t want a vote at all on this health care debacle today. Good for them even if there are Blue Dogs in the mix. .

    Jason Altmire
    Brian Baird
    Dan Boren
    Bobby Bright
    Artur Davis
    Charlie Melancon
    Gene Taylor
    Travis Childers
    Parker Griffith
    Jim Marshall
    Walt Minnick
    Ike Skelton
    Heath Shuler
    Loretta Sanchez
    Frank Kratovil

  14. That and a buck and a half will get you a cup of coffee.

  15. Whoa. If this doesn’t open the eyes of those women who actually believed that Obama was some kind of “feminist”, nothing will.
    Our tax money is going for the continued advertising campaign of Obama. That seems to be all he has ever been about.

  16. Of course the bishops are against it because to paraphrase the song, ” Thank heaven for altar boys, for without them what would priests do?”

  17. The Dems have the votes for the health care bill according to Politico.http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1109/29263.html

  18. Women are openly being treated like second-class, subhuman citizens in this healthcare “overhaul” effort.

  19. Natasha Chart at Open Left: Stealing Women’s Lives

    Women are more than half the population, we are ‘most people.’ A third of us will have abortions in our lifetimes because either our health was at risk or we simply could not afford a two decade commitment to more unpaid work. Yet in spite of that, too many people see nothing wrong with shaming us, marginalizing our concerns, stigmatizing our necessary health care options, and condemning any independent, not-male-approved exercise of our sexuality.

    It’s unfair, some say, that ‘the rest of society’, by which they mean men, should have to support any of women’s expenses, in any way, because it isn’t like they benefit. And after all, they already did all that exhausting thrusting and pumping, and btw, you’re welcome. Words fail.

  20. Something is wrong with my calendar. It says November 7, 2009. I think it is 50 years ahead.

  21. Where are the so-called WOMEN’S organizations???

      • so the unity pony got to Terry O’Neill too? well there goes that

      • What a bunch of s***! It is NOT a step in the right direction, unless NOW wants women to go back 50 years. UNBELIEVABLE! Somewhere, somehow, someone needs to draw a line in the stand and say “this is not okay.” No one has any guts or political courage. It is ALL about giving Obama a “win.” I am so disgusted and angry about this.

        • Democratic part literally sold it’s soul for a “win” for Obama. That guy may be the most damaging person in history for liberal ideals.

          • Many of us said from the beginning that Obama would destroy the Democratic Party and all it once stood for. We are being proved right. I don’t really like being right.

      • Whaaaaat????????????

        They have got to be KIDDING.

        But I know they’re not.

        There’s just about nothing left in my head but one long screeeeeeeaaaam.

      • Kool-aid drunk. What expansion of coverage and benefits for women are they talking about?

      • Your search – HR 3962 NARAL Emily’s List – did not match any documents.

  22. Darcy Burner, the leader of the Progressive Caucus Policy Foundation says that if the Stupak amendment passes, progressives should vote down the health care bill in the House.

    Burner: It means that women who find they have cancer while they are pregnant won’t get the choice of how to proceed, but those choices will instead be made by politicians in Washington, DC whose lives aren’t the ones who are being destroyed. The idea that we would throw women under the bus in the process of doing health care reform is completely unacceptable.

    Now the word I’m hearing is that the Senate is more progressive than the House on this issue and the belief is that it will come back from the conference committee without the Stupak amendment included.

    If the bill that comes back from conference does have the Stupak amendment, then organizing will be huge.


  23. The Stupak amendment is worse than I thought. It will cover almost everyone. Wow.

    His amendment, Stupak noted, is in fact more restrictive than the language he had previously agreed to include in the bill. The pro-choice crowd, demanding the right to vote their consciences, Stupak said, overplayed their hand and look to be handing him a bigger victory. Stupak’s amendment is extremely restrictive — any individual or any business that gets any subsidy or tax credit — which will be most people in the country — will not be able to purchase a health care plan that covers abortion, even with their own money. They can, however, buy supplemental coverage from a separate plan. Stupak’s amendment would represent the most significant rollback of reproductive rights in decades.

    Got this from a comment on d-day’s blog of the vote at FDL.

    • It’s in my post.

      • Quoted in the Ezra Klein article.

      • oops, i must have missed the part about covering just about everybody. sorry!

      • Ezra’s article mentioned businesses or people receiving affordability credits. This says “any” subsidy or tax credit. That may be even worse or not, depending on what’s meant by subsidy or credit.

        For example, IBM will never receive an affordabilty credit but does get various federal subsidies and tax credits.

        • The latest speaker in the House said that the Stupak amendment will prevent any woman from buying health insurance that covers abortions–with her own money! If you buy insurance from the exchange, you can’t get coverage.

        • Are the congresscritters going to fall on their own sword?

    • it’s a woman’s duty to die in childbirth dammit Ralph… didn’t you get the memo?

      (snark font on)

  24. Did I hear right? The amendment failed?

  25. So Pelosi and Obama bow down to the Catholic bishops? Does anyone think that Hillary would have been so quick to placate the Vatican?

  26. The Stupak Amendment was voted down. Now what? Does that mean the bill itself will fail because the anti-choice Dems vote against it?

  27. I don’t think that Stupak was voted down. I think that was a procedural vote.

  28. From Atrios: New word in the English lexicon.

    Stupak (n) – The sepsis commonly experienced after unsafe back alley abortions

    -Atrios 20:01

  29. Obamination. Now a “stupak.”

    At least we’re getting excellent new words out of this.

  30. Health Care open thread part II is up.

  31. Is anyone watching the debate on C- SPAN? I can not get it on my computer..

  32. Please come up to the new thread!!! This one is getting too long.

  33. We’ll need to pull an all nighter on this. God only knows what they’ll come up with in the dead of night. 👿

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