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Live Blog: Senate Health Care Debate

Senator Ben (not a moderate) Nelson

I just got home and discovered that the Senate debate on the “health care reform” bill is still on. I’m not sure how long they are going to keep debating today. Senator Ben Nelson (who is not a moderate, media!) has proposed his Stupak-clone anti-abortion amendment, and much of the debate today will focus on abortion, according to CNN.

The amendment by moderate Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska would mirror language from the health care bill passed by the House last month that prevents any health plan receiving federal subsidies from offering coverage for abortion. It was unclear if a Senate vote on Nelson’s amendment would occur Monday.

Anti-abortion legislators say the House language that Nelson seeks to adopt maintains the current level of restriction by preventing any federal funding for abortion, except in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the life of the mother.

Opponents of the tougher language say the amended language would expand the current level of restriction because women receiving coverage under a federally subsidized health care plan would be barred from purchasing abortion coverage with their own money.

According to John Walker at Firedoglake, the Nelson bill is every bit as bad as the Stupak-Pitts amendment that is included in the bill passed by the House.

What have you heard? You can watch the debate on C-Span 2 or get the live stream here.

John Cornyn (ugh!) just finished a ridiculous rant and right now Barbara Boxer is speaking about women’s health issues. Please document the atrocities in the comments.

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71 Responses

  1. Barbara Boxer was kind of disappointing. She’s fine with denying coverage for abortion but doesn’t want to go beyond the Hyde amendment.

    Now McCain is up. I have no clue what his point is yet, but that thing in his cheek is icky.

    • Sorry, I’m not watching and I’m late, but perhaps MCain was talking about the billions $$ in home health care services Medicare) that have been stripped in order to help pay for this debacle.

  2. OK, now he’s saying it. McCain wants “the same protection for all seniors.” Protection from what?

  3. I guess I’m the only one interested in the debate. Barbara Mikulsky is up now–talking about abortion and other women’s health issues.

    • Sorry but I can’t listen to the jerks anymore for awhile. Suicide would look less than drastic if I were tied in front of a TV with cspan on now.

    • I just tuned in.

      I really don’t understand but this whole healthcare charade usually makes me so angry and leaves me so frustrated that I feel drained for the rest of the day.

      The only good thing is that we are approaching midnight and I should be going to bed soon.

      • Hi MABlue! FDL is reporting some rumors that the Senate is considering allowing early Medicare buy-in for people over 55 or 60. I wish that would happen! And it would be a move toward universal Medicare.

        • This would make the Senate Bill more Progressive than the House bill.

          I can’t believe the House ended up which such a piece of dreck although that’s where the minority party has no say whatsoever.

          And now I have to listen to Chucklenuts Grassley. Ugh!!!

    • I’m interested, but I checked my work TV and we no longer get C-SPAN 2. Odd.

  4. I have no idea who put the bugs in Ben Nelson’s butt, but he sure acts like he wants to blow up the entire political process in Washington, D.C. Mutual of Omaha must have something on him.

  5. Barbara Mikulski is really angry. It’s good to see that for a change.

  6. A Medicare buy in may be on the table. This is the best news I’ve seen in months but they’ll probably screw it up.


  7. Oh God, Grassley.

  8. Apparently, Democrats are negotiating about the “public option” in secret.

    • Yes, they say that there are six blue dawgs and six liberals doing this. I guess the two republican women moderate senators are involved somewhat too.

  9. The Chris Hedges article is great! I think Ralph B. posted it below?


    I am not disappointed in Obama. I don’t feel betrayed. I don’t wonder when he is going to be Obama. I did not vote for the man. I vote socialist, which in my case meant Ralph Nader, but could have meant Cynthia McKinney. How can an organization with the oxymoronic title Progressives for Obama even exist? Liberal groups like these make political satire obsolete. Obama was and is a brand. He is a product of the Chicago political machine. He has been skillfully packaged as the new face of the corporate state. I don’t dislike Obama—I would much rather listen to him than his smug and venal predecessor—though I expected nothing but a continuation of the corporate rape of the country. And that is what he has delivered.

    • That’s really one great rant on his part! I wanted to stand and cheer.

      Margot Kidder got in some great licks in her piece at CounterPunch, which I also posted below. Ax Max.

    • I remember “Progressives for Obama” just because Black Agenda Report used to mock them mercilessly.

      They said Obama’s motto towards his “progressive” supporters was “never give a sucker even a chance”.

  10. A Medicare buy-in sounds great, but how can they do this, if they are cutting the Medicare program by 500 billion dollars?

  11. This is what you get when leadership is defined by just pass what ever and we’ll declare victory and go home

  12. There’s also been chatter today that the bill may not go into conference committee after all, would be unsurprising if that were the case:

    http://news.firedoglake.com/2009/12/07/remember-the-words-ill-fix-it-when-it-gets-to-conference-committee/“>FDL Huffpo

    • Pretty nice article.

    • Jeez, I loved reading that.

    • Great article. I liked the comparison to chess. Politics does seem like chess at times. Long live the Queen (Clinton). 🙂

      Surprising, how the chickens are coming home to roost for many people.

    • I’ve always liked HRC. But my admiration and respect for her went through the roof during the primaries. And it just keeps growing.

  13. I can’t will till Judd Gregg retires.

  14. It’s seems like Reid really set himself up by claiming that Republicans opposed ending slavery. Even the Civil Rights Bill got lots of opposition from Dixiecrats.

  15. http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2009/12/senate_health_debate_turns_to.html

    The Senate has officially begun debate on an abortion amendment, and tentatively plans to vote on it tomorrow. How the Senate handles it could be key to the fate of the whole health bill.

    Monday afternoon, Democratic Senator of Nebraska Ben Nelson, introduced an amendment that would prevent private insurers who participate in the new insurance marketplaces called “exchanges” from offering abortion coverage to women who get public subsides. The wording of the amendment looks similar to the one offered by Democratic Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan, and accepted into the House version of the bill. It caused major rifts among Democrats.

    The Nelson amendment is sponsored by just one other Democrat, Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, plus seven Republicans.

    • Bipartisanship has finally arrived. Bunch of asshats.

      • I’m done.

        • If you just watched what I suspect, That’s why I wasn’t happy he was put on the Foreign Relations Committee, and subcommittee for near Eastern Affairs. How is CEDAW or the bill for Afghani women supposed to anywhere with that kind of Democratic backing?

  16. Wish I could see it. I’ll have to read about it tomorrow in the CR.

  17. Just got off the phone with my sister, after shopping, cooking, emptying the dehumidifier and working all day. What am I missing? Should I go watch C-Span? I have to kick the kid off of Degrassi.

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